Italian, Pasta & Pizza

fresh ricotta & beef lasagna

I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but toot-i-toot-toot, this is good.

Ever since I discovered and became obsessed with fresh, homemade ricotta, I’ve wanted to put a recipe together using this yummy ingredient. The problem is, I usually end up eating it all before I can even think about throwing it into anything else. So this time around I only snagged one little bite and saved the rest for the recipe below.

Lasagna seemed like an easy first go, so I whipped up this recipe and I’d say it’s a keeper due to the happy grunts coming from Sir Dave. It’s mega-cheesy and despite the cook time, pretty easy as you’re mainly just throwing stuff together. Give it a go!

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Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 hr & 45 Minutes
Servings: 9

Ingredients
Ricotta

4 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp kosher salt
3 tbs white wine vinegar

Lasagna
2 tbs olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 28 can diced tomatoes
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 box no-boil, oven ready lasagna noodles
2 cups ricotta cheese (from ingredients above)
1 cup chopped basil
1 egg
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 lb fresh mozzarella, sliced

First, make the fresh ricotta. You have to do this. I promise it’s SO easy, so easy in fact that once you make it – buying it seems absolutely ridiculous! Find my easy peasy original post for the ricotta recipe here. Set aside (in the fridge) and start the sauce.

For the sauce, heat the olive oil in a large pot, like a dutch oven. Add the onions and garlic, cooking until translucent. Then add the ground beef over medium heat, cooking until browned. Drain of any excess fat. Add the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, oregano, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Simmer for at least one hour, stirring frequently. The longer you let this simmer, the better the flavors get, so keep it rocking for at least an hour. Keep tasting as you go, and adjust any seasonings to your taste. Sometimes if the tomatoes aren’t tasting as sweet as I want them to, I sneak in a tsp of white sugar.

Next up, make the ricotta mixture. Place the ricotta cheese in a large bowl. Whip the 1 egg, and add to the ricotta along with the chopped basil and 1/2 cup of the grated Parmesan. Mix well.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Now to layer the lasagna. Using a 9 x 13 inch glass baking dish, start with a layer of the lasagna noodles. Then add a thin layer of the ricotta mixture, then the tomato sauce. Repeat this until you near the middle, then add a layer of about 1/2 of the fresh mozzarella, covering the noodles, layer with sauce also. Continue with the noodle, ricotta, sauce layering until you reach the top. Layer the final layer of noodles with sauce, then the leftover fresh mozzarella and the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan.

Cook in the oven for about 45 minutes until bubbly an golden. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving. Top with fresh Parmesan and get happy.

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