Posted by: anniewilson | August 9, 2008

My Irish mother’s wonderful Italian Lasagna

I don’t know how my wonderful Irish mother came up with such a great recipe for this Italian dish, but she did. It’s the best lasagna that I ever tasted. It’s so good that I never order it at any restaurant, not even the best Italian places in Chicago. It even impressed my ex Italian in-laws and now my daughter makes it to glowing reviews.It takes a long time to make so when I do it, I usually make two trays and I even stuff some manicotti’s with the cheese mixture. I used to freeze the second tray but my kids would take it out and eat it as soon as the first one was gone so now I just leave it out there and we all eat lasagna for a week and a half.

You can make this lasagna a vegetarian delight by omitting the meat and adding sliced carrots, zuchinni, red/yellow/green bell peppers, larger pieces of onions, artichoke hearts, peas, and/or corn to the sauce.

This recipe has three basic ingredients, the cheese mixture, the sauce and the pasta. I use the ordinary lasagna noodles but you could probably use any pasta that you want to use.

CHEESE MIXTURE:

32 ounces of ricotta cheese
2 lbs. of shredded mozzarella (leaving a cup aside for the top of each tray)
One large container of parmasian and romano cheese
2 eggs
2 tablespoonfuls of Italian seasoning
1 teaspoonfuls each of salt and pepper

Mix this all together in a large bowl and put in the fridge until you use it.

SAUCE:

(You can use your own sauce recipe here but if you’d like, this is mine and I find that it works best.)

2 pounds of ground
2 pounds of ground Italian sausage
1 32 ounce can of tomato sauce
2 32 ounce cans of diced tomatoes
1 6 ounce can of tomato paste
1 medium onion diced
1 medium green pepper chopped up

1 tablespoon each of:
oregano
garlic
rosemary
thyme
parsely
Italian seasoning
sugar

1 teaspoonful each of:
celery seed
fennel seed
salt
pepper

2 bay leaves (to be removed before using sauce)
1/4 cup olive oil (if you don’t have olive oil, don’t use any other oil. This is for flavor, not for anything else.
1 jar of Four Cheese Ragu Spaghetti Sauce. (This sounds like you’re cheating, but you’re not. It’s just an ingredient that assures a great sauce, not the sauce itself. My mother didn’t use it but I do.)

Brown the meat, drain grease and then add sauces and seasonings. Simmer for at least an hour, tasting every 15 minutes to see if you need to add anything. Set sauce aside until you’re ready to use it.

Boil lasagna noodles according to directions on the box. Always put about a quarter cup of olive oil in the water when you boil the pasta. For this, any oil will do but I prefer olive oil.

Pour a half cup of sauce into a 13X9 inch pan. Lay 3 pieces of the pasta on the bottom of the pan and then spread cheese mixture on that, the cheese spread should be about 1/2 inch thick here. Cover the cheese mixture with sauce and then begin again with another layer of pasta. Repeat this until you have 3 layers of everything and then cover with pasta, pour sauce on that to cover it and sprinkle with 1 cup of mozzarella cheese. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30-40 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned. Let sit for a half an hour before serving. This should make enough for two 13X9 inch pans.

If I have extra cheese mixture, I stuff some manicotti shells and cover them with sauce and sprinkle that with mozzarella cheese and bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.

I keep aside some sauce to cover the lasagna or manicotti with because I like mine saucy.

It’s tough to make exactly enough of everything so you will always run out of something before the rest of everything is gone. That’s OK, if you have extra sauce, that’s good because you can use it for anything you want to use it for. Extra cheese mixture is good because you can stuff manicotti or mix in another type of pasta and bake. Extra noodles are another story. You could mix them with some olive oil and spices and serve like that, but I just toss them. You can freeze portions and reheat later. Bake them before freezing.

Serve this with a nice salad and whatever bread you like. I promise, people will rave about this recipe!

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Responses

  1. Great recipe

    Can I add this recipe to mylasagnarecipe.com?

  2. Sure. Have fun with it.

    🙂


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