On Friday, Feb. 13, we had a small dinner party at our house to celebrate Valentine's Day. We thought about having a Freddy Kreuger theme to go with the whole Friday the 13th thing, but decided on our favorite Italian instead.
My friend Sue Ellen, known mostly for her baking expertise but a great all-around cook, brought this lasagna to share. It was to die for, and if you eat it often, you will die from it! However, as an occasional treat, it's totally worth the time and arterial plaque. Here goes:
Sue Ellen's Killer Lasagna
- 1 lb. of spicy sausage (ie, Bob Evans' HOT, or better yet, Hot Italian from Carfagna's, removed from the casings)
- 1 lb. bacon
- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- 15 oz. Ricotta cheese
- 18 oz. mozzarella cheese
- 4 oz. Parmesan or Romano cheese
- 2 T butter
- 2 T flour
- 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
- nutmeg to taste (about 1/2 -1 tsp)
- 3 eggs
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 box no-cook lasagna (Barilla is good)
- couple of sprigs of fresh parsley, choppeed
- 1 jumbo-size jar of Prego traditional spaghetti sauce
1) Prepare white sauce:
Melt the butter in a pan, mix the flour into the melted butter and make a "roux" -- whisk it together and it will be pasty. Cook the butter and flour gently for 2 to 3 minutes. Pour in the cream all at once, whisking constantly to blend it smoothly. Increase the heat and continue to whisk while the sauce comes to a boil. REduce heat to a very low heat and simmer. Keep stirring as the sauce gets thicker. Cook uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Keep from getting too thick -- should be the consistency for easy drizzling. Add nutmeg to taste after cooking.
2) Prepare the meat sauce:
Dice the bacon and cook until crisp. Drain slightly, and set aside (some fat left with it is desirable.) Cook sausage, beef, onion and garlic together. Drain, but not so zealously as to lose the onion and garlic. Mix the bacon into the meat mixture, then add the spaghetti sauce and cook on low, to thoroughly heat.
3) Make the cheese mixture:
Mix the ricotta, 3 eggs, 1/2 of the Parmesan, 1/2 of the mozzarella and all of the chopped fresh parsley in a large bowl. Mix well and set aside.
4) Assemble the lasagna:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Use a 13 x 9 pan, or an even larger lasagna pan if you have one. Spray the bottom of the pan with Pam. Ladle a bit of the meat sauce into the bottom of the pan and spread it to thinly cover the bottom. Place a layer of noodles on the sauce. Add another ladel of sauce on top of the noodles. Drizzle some of the white sauce over the meat sauce. Put on another layer of noolds, then half of the cheese filling -- drizzle more white suace over the cheese layer. Repeat until all of the meat and cheese filling and white sauce is gone, ending with meat sauce. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan and mozzarella cheese on top. Cover with "no stick" aluminum foil and put into the oven; bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for another 15 minutes. Keep watch and make sure the cheese isn't getting too brown; if so, loosely replace foil over darker spots.
Remove from oven and let rest for 15-20 minutes before cutting. It's even better if baked the day ahead and reheated before serving.