Yes I grew up with an Italian last name nobody could pronounce…funny my car can pronounce it…so everyone immediately assumed that I had this Italian grandma cooking for me or teaching me how to cook, ummm, sorry to disappoint you. If we are getting down to it, I’m 1/4 Italian, my grandfather is the 100% gene carrier in my family not my grandmother and all my Italian cooking relatives live on the complete opposite side of the country from me. I did however grow up eating a lot of Italian style food, but Lasagna was not on my list of faves. I couldn’t deal with the Ricotta cheese, there I said it, it’s some kind of texture thing – but then I figured out a way to make it creamy without it all running off my plate.
Our youngest son LOVES lasagna! It’s a close second to his maple syrup addiction. This pleases the entire family every time! I grew up watching my mom make lasagna and so this is basically her ‘recipe’ just quickened up for weeknights. I never actually saw her use a recipe – and there it is where I got my cooking techniques – not from recipes. Here are a few different things about the lasagna I grew up eating – there is no meat in it…zip zilch nadda- sorry, you see my Italian grandfather, well he’s a vegetarian.
Because it’s a Weekday lasagna I grab quick cooking noodles and prepared sauce – I do make my own sauce so I grab it out of the freezer. But your favorite store bought or stolen off the stove of the Italian grandma in your neighborhood will do just fine! Otherwise all other ingredients are pretty basic for this dish. If you really wanted to speed it up, grab the pre-shredded cheese as well! I always grate my own, saves a little money and I haven’t tried a pre-shredded one that I like either.
I layout everything assembly line style around my dish so it’s all easy to grab when I start the layering process. I grate the mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese and open the ricotta cheese. I dump the ricotta into a bowl and mix a few eggs in as well as the dry spices I use…garlic, basil and ‘Italian’ seasoning – then I throw the eggs in – whip it up and set aside-.
I use a 9×13 pan, you can however make this in a crock-pot…learn something new every day huh? Start by putting some sauce on the bottom of the pan, put a layer of noodles on top…put a little more sauce down just enough to cover the noodles, then add a good scoop of the ricotta mixture and smear it over the noodles and sauce, finish that layer with a good sprinkling of mozzarella cheese. Lay more noodles on top and repeat the process until you are finished with all the ingredients. At this point you can pop it in your fridge and bake it later or put it right into the oven. If you are doing crock pot method, HIGH 4 hours, LOW 8…350 oven for 45 min (I bake mine uncovered). When the cheese is melted and you see it bubbling – it’s done. I take it out and set the table then call the minions in so it’s set and ready to serve.
One box quick cooking Lasagna noodles
2 jars of pasta sauce
One large container Ricotta Cheese
1 1/2 blocks of mozzarella cheese, grated
1/4-1/3 cup of finely grated Parmesan cheese
2 -3 eggs (three if you like your ricotta cheese thinner, 2 if you like it firmer)
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder