Pre-Baked Lasagna Casserole Dish
First I will confess that Lasagna is not my most favorite dish in the world but it certainly is nice for a delicious change of pace. I am, however, a huge fan of Ricotta cheese. So you might say it doesn't exactly break my heart to prepare it, just as long as I don't have to have a steady diet of it. We have lasagna a couple of times annually and it seems to satisfy everyone.
My family can't seem to get enough Lasagna when I do make it. So, to satisfy their craving for this delightful dish, as a general rule I make two at a time. This way we can eat one and I freeze the other to enjoy another day. This works well if you have unexpected guests drop in. (Of course, you do have to allow time for the dish to thaw.)
Note: My mother always used Ragu spaghetti sauce flavored with meat sauce and I enjoy the taste and have always used it. You can make your own or use whatever sauce you prefer.
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Open jars of Ragu, pour them in a large pot. While Ragu is warming, brown ground beef in a skillet and brown Italian sausage in another. Add to spaghetti sauce, then add brown sugar and garlic salt, simmer on medium/low.
Prepare noodles according to the directions on the box. If you intend to refrigerate the lasagna overnight before cooking, the noodles can be used without cooking.
In a large bowl, combine Ricotta cheese, Asiago grated cheese blend, eggs, salt and pepper. Stir until well mixed. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350° - if you intend to bake it immediately.
Dip several ladles of lasagna sauce into the bottom of two 9"x9" baking dishes, spread evenly, be sure to coat the entire bottom of each pan. Add a layer of lasagna noodles, top with cheese filling, then add a layer of shredded mozzarella cheese. Repeat process. Be sure to add a generous portion of sauce between layers.
Add a layer of Cheddar Cheese to the top.
If you have cooked your noodles, bake for 50 minutes if you are using glass pans. Your cooking time may vary. Lasagna is done when the top reaches a nice golden brown and cheddar cheese is bubbly. Do not overcook.
If you used dry noodles, refrigerate at least overnight to be sure noodles have softened.
Serve baked lasagna with thick slices of garlic bread and a hearty salad for a well-rounded meal.
Serves a family of four.
Updated February 10, 2009
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