Classic Ground Meat Lasagna Recope?

blueiris24September 18, 2012

I'm looking for another version of lasagna to try- no sausage, just ground meat. Do you use ricotta or cottage cheese? If you have a tried and true recipe I'd love it if you would take the time to share it! Thanks

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No recipe, per se. I take ground beef, drain it, saute minced garlic in it (2-3 cloves) and then add sauce. I like Rozzano brand from BJ's, (the ingredients: imported italian tomatoes, pure italian olive oil, fresh onions, fresh basil, fresh garlic, sea salt and spices).
Cook a box of lasagne noodles and I spread them on foil to prevent sticking.
Mix together a large container of ricotta cheesse with a generous handful of shredded parmesan and one egg. Add a tbs or so of something green (I prefer oregano, but have used parsley).
Spread plain sauce on the bottom of the lasagne pan. Put a layer of noodles. cover with meat sauce. Use a spoon and pot dollops of the ricotta mixture over the meat layer. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella over the ricotta. Place 4 noodles over to cover. Press down gently for an even layer. Repeat. I usually get four layers and end up with a noodle layer which I cover with plain sauce and then sprinkle parm on top.
Bake for about 45 min at 350.

Sorry so vague, but it is a basic outline.


    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 6:53PM
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Close to what I do....but I make my own sauce.
Chop- a big onion and a small green pepper, sautee in about 2 T olive oil....add 4 or 5 cloves of chopped garlic and cook another 4 or 5 minutes.
Add a big can of good Italian canned tomatoes (4 in one, or another good brand) and one ot canned tomato puree ( not sauce!) and a c 6 oz can of continadina tomato paste.
Fill the can with dry red wine and add to the sauce....add a bay leaf, 2 T chopped fresh Italian parsley, 2 tsps dried ogegano and 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil.
Simmer uncovered until thick.....about an hour.
Sautee 2 pound of ground beef breaking up, until no longer pink...add about a cup of the sauce and continue to cook...perhaps adding more sauce as needed....should be a thick meaty "stuff."
A carton of Ricotta, which in my area is 1 1/2 cups, 2 eggs, a good handful of fresh chopped parsley about 1/2 cup of grated mozerella and a good grinding of black pepper.....easily 1/2 to 3/4 tsp.
Then layer....a ladle of sauce, noodles, meat cooked with the sauce, dollops of the ricotta, a generous sprinkle of grated parm, noodles, meat sauce, ricotta and parm....noodles and sauce and lots of grated mozzerella and grated parm..
Cook immediatly at 375 for about 35 minutes, until browned and bubbley ( I am assuming the sauces are hot)...or refrigerate and bake covered at 350 for about 1 1/4 hours....remove foil during last 20 minutes or so.

Let it rest easily 20 minutes before cutting.

Freeze extra sauce...or cook more meat and buy more ricotta and make another lasagna!!
Then I don't use cook noodles!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 7:26PM
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I guess you wouldn't have to use the sausage in this, but it is my family's favourite just the way it is. I usually triple it and freeze two. I have a few good recipes from Joe - he made a lot of good contributions.
Joes Killer Lasagn(from Joe at the Cooking Forum)
1 medium onion -- chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound Italian sausage -- casings removed and broken up
1/2 pound ground veal
2 cloves garlic -- minced
4 ounces mushrooms -- chopped
15 ounces tomato sauce
12 ounces tomato paste
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon oregano -- leaves
1 teaspoon basil -- crushed
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
8 ounces mozzarella cheese -- thinly sliced
1 pound Ricotta cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
12 ounces lasagna noodles
Saute the chopped onion in the olive oil. Add and cook the ground meats, starting with the sausage, then the beef, then the veal.
Add the garlic and mushrooms. Cook. Drain.
Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, wine, water, oregano, basil, salt, pepper, and sugar. Simmer covered for 1-1/2 hours.
Cook the lasagna noodles while sauce is simmering. Use 10 to 16 pieces depending on the width of the noodles. Drain, rinse, drain again.
Butter a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
Cover the bottom of the dish with a thin layer of the sauce. Layer: 1/3 of the noodles, 1/3 of the sauce, 1/3 of the Ricotta cheese (in dollops), 1/3 of the Mozzarella. Repeat twice more. Cover with the Parmesan cheese.
Bake uncovered in a 350-degree oven for 40-50 minutes, or until bubbly.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 10:39PM
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Linked below is my favorite lasagna recipe because it uses regular lasagna noodles but you don't have to cook them first. It was (maybe still is?) printed on Skinner lasagna boxes and I discovered this recipe through a friend about 100 years ago or so and have always used it since.

Note that it calls for a 32 oz jar of spaghetti sauce, but normally I make an equivalent amount of my own sauce, so either way works.

I do use ricotta and you can do this same recipe with whatever meat or sausage you like, or even vegetarian as I've done cubed eggplant and I've done spinach.

Here is a link that might be useful: Virginia's Easy Lasagna

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 11:57AM
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Here is a simple (not gourmet), no boil recipe, that always gets rave reviews when I make it. My family does not like ricotta and this uses cottage cheese. It can also be made ahead and refrigerated.

1 1/4 lbs ground beef, browned and well drained
1 (1lb 10 oz) jar traditional spaghetti sauce
16 oz can tomato sauce
16 oz carton low-fat cottage cheese
2 eggs
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
8 oz uncooked lasagna noodles

1. Mix the browned meat with the spaghetti and tomato sauces.
2. In another bowl, mix together the cottage cheese, parmesan cheese, eggs and mozzarella cheese.
3. Arrange 1/3 of the sauce in the bottom of a 13x9 inch pan that has been sprayed with a nonstick spray. Arrange a layer of uncooked noodles on top and then half of the cheesy egg mixture. Repeat layers and end with a layer of sauce on the top. Noodles must be buried in sauce.
4. Cover dish with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 hours. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Hint: order the lasagna --- 2 cups sauce, noodles, half the cheesy-egg mixture, 2 cups sauce, noodles, remaining half of cheesy-egg mixture, 2 cups sauce

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 12:20PM
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Lasagna is one of those things that varies each time I make it. I don't follow a recipe, rather use an outline or guidelines. As you'll note in the recipes, basically they're very similar. It's little variances that personalize it. Noodles, beef, sauce and mozzarella cheese will make a very edible lasagna. It's the foundation you build on.

I like a mixture of meats in there. I usually use ground beef, pork sausage and pepperoni (microwaved a bit to render out some of the fat) and occasionally add cooked bacon or if I have leftover ribs or meatloaf I'll put that in there too. I've even put some bratwurst in there at times. It's flexible. You mentioned using ground meat so I'm not sure if you mean only ground beef or other ground meat or a mixture. Whatever you like.

I quit boiling the noodles a long time ago and don't buy the "no boil" type. No need to. Just have enough moisture and you're fine. If the sauce is thick, I will thin it with some beer which adds flavor and usually a dash of Louisiana Hot Sauce and occasionally a tablespoon or so of BBQ sauce. I add onion to the meats. I usually use ricotta (don't really like cottage cheese) but if I don't have it I don't panic.

Garlic, Lemon Pepper and Italian Seasoning are the base seasonings I use depending on the sauce. Whatever else I feel like. Just don't overseason it.

To me, the secret of a great lasagna over decent, OK or good is using multiple cheeses. Lots of mozzarella, but I also add some Swiss, Cojack, Pepper Jack or whatever I have along with parmesan. I usually figure a minimum of 5-7 different cheeses to make for a good lasagna. And I usually get compliments about it.

As mentioned, let it sit to set up a bit, give some great garlic bread with seasonings and a nice salad and you have a great meal.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 2:10PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Hmmm, I admit, I do have certain lasagna preferences and it has to do with layering, for the most part.

I prefer the meat sauce and the cheese to each have their own layer and the final topping to be meat sauce so that the final layer doesn't get hard- no foil.
This is more an aesthetic preference as it all tastes the same, however, on a different note, I only use ricotta (low fat is alright) and always a deep lasagna pan (All those separate layers!) and never No Boil noodles. They don't have the correct texture and require too much sauce.

Various meats and cheeses, but not cottage cheese lol!, are fine.

Really good lasagne has homemade noodles, fresh mozzarella, homemade sauce ( that has cooked all day), fresh basil and whole milk ricotta.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 3:55PM
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I've made Joe's Killer lasagna and it's really good. I've made my own pasta and that's really good too. I've even made my own mozzarella.

However, I seldom make lasagna and when I do I portion it out so a pan goes to Amanda, one goes to Ashley and one goes to my stepmother's freezer, I can't seem to make a small batch of lasagna.

If I'm in a hurry I'll make a quick lasagna by browning ground beef, mixing it with a quart of my homecanned tomato basil sauce, then doing the noodle/sauce/cheese layers. I've never used ricotta because it's usually not available at my small town grocery, we've always used cottage cheese and it works fine. Mozzarella, of course, or a four cheese Italian blend if I buy already grated cheese. I like to grate my own, it melts better.


    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 10:19AM
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That Virginia's Easy Lasagna recipe is also the one I've used for years, got it off some lasagna noodles box many many years ago! So easy and so good! Sometimes I use ricotta and sometimes I use cottage cheese, whatever the mood hits me. I think I actually like Cottage cheese the best.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 5:46PM
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I make the recipe on the box of Barilla no boil noodles. With a jar of Barilla sauce of whatever flavor catches my eye. I'll hide now.

But I also really like the portobello mushroom lasagna Jo posted a while back. I add fresh spinach to it and make my own lasagna noodles from scratch. The Barilla version is much easier. :)


    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 6:09PM
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I haven't made Joey's Killer in a while but it's great. As I recall, he specifically developed it as a sturdy lasagna that would stand tall rather than a very saucey, cheesey one that kind of collapses on your plate. The sausage adds something, but if you don't want it just leave it out.

Unless you use a bad jarred sauce, I think it's pretty tough to screw up lasagna too badly.

Bumblebeez - It caught my eye when you mentioned using fresh mozzarella in your lasagna. How does that work out? I've never used fresh as a melting cheese like that, and there are conflicting reports on the web. Some say it expels much of the moisture and turns to rubber and others say it works fine. Do you grate it or slice it or dice it or what? I prefer fresh, cost is about the same (they hand make it at my supermarket - salted and unsalted) but like I said I've never used it hot.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 7:05PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I always prefer fresh mozzarella over the other kind.
Unless I use little pearls or balls, I slice it.
Love it on pizza with fresh tomatoes, basil, some goat cheese.
Some brands are better than others.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 9:45PM
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I agree with all of the above.
But remember, the pasta will absorb
a LOT of the sauce, so, like baked
zitti, I make it almost a soup, before

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 4:35PM
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It's a lot of work, but it's the very best I've ever had.


3 Tablespoons Butter
5 Cloves Fresh Garlic, crushed
2 Cups Chopped Carrots
2 Cups Chopped Celery
2 Cups Chopped Onion
1 Pound Sliced Fresh Mushrooms
2 Pounds Lean Ground Beef
2 Pounds Italian Sausage
4 Teaspoons Dried Parsley
4 Teaspoons Basil
1 1/2 Tablespoons Fennel Seed
2-3 Quarts Stewed Tomatoes
4 6-Ounce Cans Tomato Paste
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 Pounds Cottage Cheese, small curd is best
3/4 Pound Parmesan Cheese
2 Pounds Grated Mozzarella
1 1/2 Packages Lasagna Noodles, cooked according to label

Saut� Garlic, Carrot, Onion, Mushrooms and Celery in Butter until tender. Add Ground Beef and Italian Sausage and cook until done. Skim off as much of the grease as possible at this point.

Transfer to a large stock pot. Add all of the spices at this point, as well as the Stewed Tomatoes. Cover and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. After two hours, add the Tomato Paste and taste to correct seasonings. Skim any additional grease that has come up during cooking. Sauce is ready for use.

Assembly: In a large, deep baking pan, spoon about one cup of sauce, add a layer of noodles, more sauce, Mozzarella Cheese, Noodles, Sauce, Cottage Cheese, Noodles, Sauce, Cottage Cheese and Mozzarella, Noodles and Sauce. Top with the Parmesan Cheese.

Tent the pan with foil so that it isn't touching the cheese, and bake in a preheated 350oF oven until heated through, about one hour. This also freezes beautifully, and can be reheated in the microwave.


    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 5:42PM
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Thanks everyone for taking the time to post the great recipes - my mother always used ricotta instead of cottage cheese so that's what I did, but I'm ready to branch out and try some different versions- I don't make lasagna a lot, but like Annie, when I do I portion it out and freeze for various college students in my life.... I am going to give several of these a try and see what the family likes best- thanks again

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 4:56PM
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This is different from the lasagna that most people make in that you layer the meat sauce and sheets of pasta with a bechamel sauce instead of ricotta cheese and eggs. It is rich, creamy, and delicious. Fresh lasagna sheets make this dish particularly good. This freezes well. Just thaw and bake.

Lasagna with Bechamel
Meat Sauce:
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 sprigs parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds ground beef
1 large can plum tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
1 can tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine
Salt and pepper
3 bay leaves

Saute onion, garlic, and parsley in hot olive oil until onions are soft. Add ground beef and stir until meat is browned. Add remaining ingredients and let simmer over low heat until sauce has thickened. Remove excess fat, if desired. Set aside.

Bechamel Sauce:
2 onions, finely chopped
8 tablespoons butter
8 tablespoons flour
6 cups milk, warmed
2 cups shredded parmesan
Salt and pepper

Saute onions in butter until soft. Add flour, cook about 5 minutes. Add milk gradually and stir constantly until sauce is thick, about 10 minutes. Take sauce off heat and add parmesan. Stir until cheese is melted. Season to taste.

1 pound lasagna, preferably fresh
Sliced mozzarella cheese (about 1 pound)

Boil pasta in salted water until al dente. Remove lasagna from hot water and place each noodle on wax lined baking sheet. Stack noodles between sheets of wax paper.

Grease a baking dish (1 large baking pan or two 2 quart casseroles). Put a small amount of meat sauce on bottom of dish. Put layer of noodles on bottom, pour some meat sauce over noodles, add some cheese sauce, then some finely sliced mozzarella cheese. Continue layering tomato sauce, cheese sauce, noodles, and mozzarella adding more and more of the sauces as you build the layers (the sauces bake down into the lasagna, so you do not need as much on the bottom layers as you do the top). Cover the top with cheese sauce, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and any mozzarella cheese you might have left.

Bake at 325 oven for about 20 minutes, then set oven to broil until surface is bubbly gold.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 8:50AM
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We also prefer lasagna made with bechemel.

I live in Connecticut, the state with the nation's highest concentration of Italians. So, lots of really good Italian food. With so many wonderful choices available though there's really not much need to make it at home. Usually, I just buy a couple trays and freeze but thanks for the recipe.


Here is a link that might be useful: Italians in CT

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 9:55AM
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I swear I've tried every version of lasagna known to mankind and have settled on one that also uses Bechamel.

Mine is slightly different from Janice's. I don't mix the Bechamel/mozzarella layer with the Meat sauce layer and I use packaged fresh lasagna noodles from the market. I don't boil the noodles.

I layer a small amount of meat sauce, then noodles, then Bechamel and mozzarella (I use fresh mozzarella), then noodles etc. Finishing with a Bechamel layer.

I don't make any of the layers too heavy and end up with quite a few more noodles than when I make a traditional lasagna. It's a very delicate lasagna...Clive's favourite but the kids prefer "real lasagna" !

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 11:15AM
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Here's mine, and it always gets raves. You could easily use ground beef instead of sausage. I learned to make this from my Italian friend.

Italian Sausage Lasagna

Serves 8-12

2 medium onions, chopped
6 Tbsp. olive oil
1 to 2 lbs. mild Italian sausage
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 (6 oz.) cans Italian tomato paste
2 (16 oz.) cans Italian tomatoes
1 C dry red wine
1 C water
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. oregano leaves
1 Tbsp. basil
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. sugar
2 C (1 lb.) ricotta cheese
2 eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley
16 oz. mozzarella cheese, grated or sliced thin
1/2 C grated Parmesan or Parmigiano-Reggiano (use real Parmesan... not the stuff in the green can!)
8 oz. lasagna noodles

Cook onion in oil until soft; add sausage and garlic and cook, stirring, until sausage is brown and crumbly. Discard excess fat.

Stir in tomato paste, tomatoes, wine, water, salt, oregano, basil, pepper and sugar. Simmer uncovered for about 1-1/2 hours.

Cook lasagna noodles. Drain, rinse with cold water and drain again. [OR, use this tried-and-true method shared by Ina Garten (I tried it, and it works!): Fill a large bowl with the hottest tap water; add the noodles and let them sit in the water for 20 minutes. Drain.]

Mix beaten eggs with ricotta; add 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley.

Butter a 9�13-inch or larger non-aluminum baking dish (see note). Spread a thin layer of sauce over the bottom. Arrange 1/3 of the noodles in an even layer over the sauce. Spread 1/3 sauce over the noodles, dot with 1/3 of the ricotta mixture then 1/3 of the mozzarella. Repeat layering 2 more times. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over top.

Bake covered at 350F for 30 minutes; remove cover and bake uncovered for 15 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Note: Be sure to use a non-aluminum baking pan. Aluminum may react with the acid in the tomatoes to create a black, mushy, metallic-tasting mess � trust me, it isn�t good! This may also happen if the foil cover touches the tomato sauce for extended periods. Instead, use a glass, stoneware, or stainless-steel pan, and cover with foil right before baking. If refrigerating or freezing prior to baking (or after), cover the dish with plastic wrap and replace with the foil just prior to baking.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 12:00PM
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