I don’t know about you but I love a good 5-cheese meaty lasagne and to save time, prepare the meat sauce ahead of time or use your favorite store-bought sauce instead.
Fortunately, the meat sauce recipe referred to below can be made in large batches that freeze beautifully for future use. For best results in this recipe, pulse 4 cups of the chunky meat sauce in a food processor prior to using.
TIP: The key to keeping lasagna from getting soupy is to make sure your noodles are thoroughly dried before assembling.
Prep time: 20 minutes (+ 20 minutes to rest)
Cook time: 50-55 minutes
Meat Sauce Ingredients:
3 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
2 large stalks celery, cleaned and finely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
2 c. dry red wine, divided
1¼ lbs. ground beef, 85% lean
1 lbs. bulk sweet pork sausage
1 lbs. bulk spicy pork sausage
2 28-oz. cans tomato puree
1 28-oz. can petite-cut tomatoes, undrained
2 6-oz. cans tomato paste
1 T. dried oregano
2 t. dried thyme
2 t. dried rosemary
2 T. honey, preferably local
3-4” Parmesan rind
2 whole bay leaves
4 c. meat sauce
12 whole lasagna noodles, cooked according to package instructions
1 24 oz. container ricotta cheese
1 egg, beaten
4 T. Italian seasoning, divided
½ c. fresh parsley, chopped, plus extra for garnish
2 t. kosher salt
1 t. black pepper
1 8 oz. package shredded Mozzarella cheese, divided
1 8 oz. package shredded Gruyère cheese, divided
¾ c. Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, divided
¾ c. Asiago cheese, freshly grated, divided
Directions for the meat sauce:
- In a large (6 quart or larger) Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and mushrooms and season with salt and black pepper, to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally until onions become soft and mushrooms begin to release liquids, approximately 4-5 minutes.
- Add celery, carrots and ½ cup wine and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes.
- Add crumbled beef and pork and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat until no longer pink inside. Remove from heat and carefully drain excess fat from pot, if necessary.
- Set Dutch oven over low heat. Add tomato puree, petite-cut tomatoes, tomato paste, and remaining red wine to Dutch oven, along with oregano, thyme, rosemary, and honey. Season with additional salt and black pepper, to taste, and stir to combine.
- Add bay leaves and Parmesan rind. Cover and simmer on low for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally. If sauce becomes too thick, add a little water to achieve desired consistency.
- Remove from heat and discard bay leaves and remaining Parmesan rind. Taste and adjust seasonings, as desired. Serve immediately with your choice of pasta or freeze for later use. Enjoy!
Directions for the 5-cheese meaty lasagne:
- Place the top oven rack in the center position and set the temperature to 375°F.
- In a large glass bowl, combine ricotta cheese, beaten egg, 3 tablespoons Italian seasoning, and fresh parsley. Stir to combine.
- Spray a 13 x 9” glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Add enough meat sauce to cover the bottom of the pan and then cover with 3 lasagna noodles. Top with an even layer of the ricotta cheese mixture, followed by a layer of shredded mozzarella and Gruyère cheese, using equal amounts of each. Finish with a layer of grated Parmesan and Asiago cheese, also in equal amounts.
- Repeat this process three more times: meat, noodles, ricotta mixture, shredded cheeses, and grated cheeses. Sprinkle the remaining Italian seasoning across the final layer.
- Loosely cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for another 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 20 minutes before slicing and serving. Enjoy!