So, I’m super excited about this pasta recipe I have to share with you today. It is my absolute favorite of all time. I know people say [myself included] that something is their favorite, or the best, and most of the time, that’s a huge exaggeration to emphasize how good something is. But this time… I am 100% serious. My Mom’s lasagna is my absolute favorite pasta dish, or dinner for that matter. It’s my Grandma’s recipe [the same Grandma of the famed blueberry muffins] and it can’t be beat. I just call it Mom’s Lasagna cause a) the recipe is from my mom, b) the recipe originated with her mom, and c) that’s how it’s written on the recipe card. That’s a lotta mom, so it’s gotta be good.
This lasagna is the perfect mix of cheesy goodness and rich tomato meat sauce. I recently started making my own sauce, and I can’t wait to share the recipe later in the week, btw. It’s made in the crockpot and it’s super easy and flavorful. But that recipe will have a chance to shine later–right now it’s lasagna’s turn.
I know a lot of lasagnas favor special ingredients like Italian sausage, veggies, or fancy cheeses, and those are good. I’ll never turn down a hearty slice of lasagna… but those aren’t the cozy, comforting lasagna from my childhood. I can’t tell you how many birthdays or weekend visits home from college featured this lasagna, and I’ll never get sick of eating it.
The base of the cheesy layer [aside from the mozzarella and parmesan] is not ricotta cheese, as many expect, but rather cottage cheese. I know that’s a semi-common substitute that may not sound the most appealing… but I promise promise PROMISE that using cottage cheese is not only a more frugal choice, but actually a creamier choice that highlights the flavor of the smooth mozzarella, sharp parmesan, chewy noodles, and sweet, bold tomato sauce. If you want to sub ricotta I won’t be offended [and actually have tried it myself], but I prefer cottage cheese in this and use ricotta other times.
Every bite of this saucy, meaty, cheesy hearty lasagna is savored, cherished, and devoured in our house. It’s actually a little embarrassing how much of the pan we can chow down on when it’s piping hot out of the oven. Now you can enjoy it too!
For the record, I’m not entirely sure why I haven’t shared this recipe on the blog yet, but I am glad I hadn’t. See, a few weeks ago I got an email from Sarah at Yahoo!’s Shine Supper Club inviting me to join the monthly recipe challenge club. Each month has a theme, and October’s happened to be favorite pasta recipes. So this was totally perfect!! If you have a blog, definitely check it out and see how you can get involved. I’ll be back later to link up other entries for this month so be sure to come back and check those out too.
We love this lasagna and hope you do too!
What’s essential to your favorite lasagna?
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- 9 lasagna noodles [regular not no-cook]
- 1 pound ground beef
- 28 ounces spaghetti sauce [homemade or your favorite jarred sauce; can really use 24-36 ounces]
- 16 ounces cottage cheese [or ricotta]
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2-1 cup grated parmesan cheese [depending on preference]
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Begin by heating a large pot of water to boiling to cook the lasagna noodles. Next, brown ground beef and drain, then stir in spaghetti sauce.
Meanwhile, stir together cottage cheese, eggs, oregano, garlic, and black pepper. When water is boiling, cook noodles almost to al dente [I usually cook them a minute or so under the time on the package]. Drain noodles and rinse with cold water.
Prepare lasagna by first placing a layer of sauce [about 1/5 of the sauce] in the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Top with 3 noodles, then 1/3 of the cottage cheese mixture, 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese, and a 1/3 of the parmesan cheese. Repeat twice, ending with a layer of sauce.
Bake, uncovered, for 60 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.
Time: 90 minutes [20 minutes active].
Yield: 8 servings.