For many Italian-Americans, lasagna is the centerpiece of the Christmas meal. Its stacked layers of long noodles, sauce, cheese, and meat makes every bite come alive with flavor.Most classically prepared with meat, modern Italian chefs have started spicing up lasagna by substituting everything from spaghetti to a host of vegetables.
The key to a successful lasagna is to make sure your pan is big enough to fit all of your layers.
- For meat sauce, crumble ground beef into large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown until meat loses its pink color. Spoon off and discard fat.
- Stir in spices. Cook until soft.
- Press tomatoes and juice through sieve into meat mixture; discard seeds.
Press the tomatoes through a sieve
and discard the seeds.
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- Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and continue to simmer unitl sauce thickens. Set aside.
- Add lasagna noodles to boiling salted water, allowing noodles to soften and fit in the pot. Cook until al dente.
Add the lasagna noodles to boiling
water and cook until al dente.
- Drain noodles and rinse with cold water. Drain a second time and stack individually over pot rim to prevent sticking. Set aside.
- Grease 12 X 8-inch baking dish with butter. Spread noodles in a single layer on clean kitchen (not paper) towel. Pat noodles dry.
Grease the baking dish with
butter to avoid sticking.
- Arrange three lasagna noodles in single layer, overlapping slightly, in bottom of baking dish.
- Spread half of meat sauce evenly over noodles. Spread half of cheese over meat sauce in an even layer.
Begin to layer the meat,
cheese, and noodles.
- Repeat layers once.
- Arrange three lasagna noodles on top. Sprinkle grated cheese evenly on top of lasagna to completely cover lasagna noodles.
Sprinkle grated cheese evenly on top of the lasagna.
- Bake in preheated oven as directed. Let stand before serving.
Let the lasagna cool before serving.
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