Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Jeremy and I had a disagreement about whether or not I should write this post.  He loves lasagna - I do not.  I tolerate lasagna.  Occasionally I even like lasagna, but very rarely do I love it.  I think maybe I would like this lasagna, just because it is so very different from anything else I've ever had.  But for his birthday last year I made normal American lasagna for him, and as stuffy as this sounds, I actually liked my own lasagna, hahaha.  I think it's because I am much more interested in mushrooms and spinach than tons and tons of noodles (yuck).  So I made it again this year for our anniversary but, big surprise to no one, I lost my recipe and had to search again for the original recipe which I then tweaked and thought "Oh yeah - not enough sauce.  I now remember that from last year.  Grrr."  I was less than pleased with it this year but Jeremy really, really, reeeeeeaalllly liked it. 

On principle, I never post a recipe I haven't tested AND been happy with.  I also, on principle, never wanted to post a recipe that I felt needed more tweaking, even if I did like it.  If you make all the adjustments I recommended, I think it would be excellent.  Even more excellent would be me making them myself next year and posting a perfect recipe then.  But, Jeremy really wanted me to tell you about this lasagna (!!!), so if you like it Yay! and if not, it's all his fault.

Um, this is what happened to my kitchen...

AND in other breaking news, Jeremy and I are going on VACATION!!!!!!  Va. ca. tion.  I am sooo excited.  We are leaving the munchkin here (Yes!  Sob!  Yes!  Sob!) and going wherever we want and doing whatever we want and staying out as late as we want and making as much noise as we want and not sleeping with the constant hum of a baby monitor and getting a tan and eating our own food and I'M SO EXCITED.  Hopefully I'll write once more before we leave, but if not, see you later!

  • 1/2 pound ground chuck
  • 1 chopped onion (optional)
  • 1 handful torn basil (optional if, unlike me, you don't have a basil-flipping-tree growing in your front yard)
  • 1/2 pound medium Italian sausage
  • 1 carton fresh mushrooms
  • 36 oz. of tomato sauce
    • CAVEAT:  I copped out people- Seriously copped out, and I bought a pre-made garlic-flavored sauce that rhymes with Schmego.  I will never do that again.  This sauce would be a much, much better choice and make this lasagna sooooo good. 
  • 1 can tomato sauce
    • If you make your own sauce, you do not need this extra can of randomness.  This was what I added when I realized I didn't have enough Schmego.  Grrr.
  • 16 oz. cottage cheese
  • 16 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh-grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 16-oz. package lasagna noodles (but I only used half)
  • 12 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese, divided (8 oz. and 4 oz.)
  • 2 cups-ish packed fresh spinach leaves
Brown the meat 80% of the way in a large pot.  Add onions and basil and saute until the onions are transparent and the meat is done.  Add sauce and heat through.  Note: If you use the home-made sauce I linked to above, remember it takes roughly 45 minutes to cook.

Meanwhile, saute mushrooms in butter (and a little white wine, cooking or otherwise, if you have it).  In a medium bowl combine cottage, ricotta, and Parmesan cheeses and eggs.  

Spread a thin layer of meat sauce on the bottom of a 13 by 9 inch pan.  This will create the steam necessary to cook your bottom layer of uncooked noodles.  Layer uncooked lasagna noodles,  cheese mixture, a thin layer of mushrooms, a sprinkle of mozzarella, spinach, and meat sauce.  Continue layering until all of your ingredients are used, except 4 oz. mozzarella.  I used only half the package of noodles and broke several of them to fill in the weird spaces - I ended up with two complete layers plus the top layer. When finishing, place a layer of noodles and a final layer of sauce.

Cover lasagna with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Uncover and add the rest of the mozzarella, then bake for an additional 20-25 minutes.

Now.  I have made uncooked-noodle lasagna before with no problems.  This time, however, my top layer of noodles was waaaay to crunchy.  I'm not entirely sure why - not enough sauce on top?  Foil not tight enough?  These noodles were left over from last year? (heh)  I think in the future I might cook just the noodles that will form the top layer.  Anyone else (*Dad?*) have a suggestion?


  1. Sweet Italian sausage, works better - you need the sweetness in lasagna.

    Always cook the noodles first - doing it the other way is just wrong - it angers the lasagna gods.

    Equal parts plain tomato sauce and canned diced tomatoes - you dont need commercial sauce.

    You already know all of this - you are a much better cook than me.

    Cook the garlic heaping tablespoon of minced garlic (that you left out of the recipe) with the ground beef/sausage - if you try to saute garlic by itself it is very easy to burn it.

    1. Thanks for pointing out the garlic I left out! I will go fix that right now. And I am NOT better cook than you, I just have a less crazy life than you right now, so I get to cook more often. :-)

  2. Lasagna! A Dillinger favorite and I am sure Jeremy would like it no matter what way you cook it! We cook the noodles slighty, to soften them before adding them to the dish. I actually cook 5 or 6 at a time as I go, and as I add my lasagna layers, I am cooking more for the next layer. Maybe that's the slow way but if you cook them too much they get to soft and are hard to work with and fall apart.

    Yay! Vacation! So glad you two get to go! Be safe, get some rest and enjoy doing whatever you want! Sending up prayers and sending over our love!

  3. I must admit that I am not a lasagna fan either. The only time I ever really liked it was a white lasagna - not sure of the contents, it was a long time ago. I'll hunt a recipe and maybe we can try it together. Sounds reasonable to precook the top layer of pasta bit. One thing I do know, if your hubby loved it and you made it for him, you have attained success!!

  4. Always listen to your husband. (: