Meat Lasagna

Hello everyone! I realize that quite some time has passed since my last post, but I swear I have a good excuse. In fact, it’s so good that I don’t think you’ll believe me, so why waste time and tell you, really? It makes sense if you don’t think about it too much. Anywho, so if you can’t tell by the title of this recipe or the big picture, today I’m going to tell you how to make LASAGNA! YAY! Everyone loves lasagna…unless you don’t have a soul! 0_0 YOU SOULLESS BEING, BE GONE! Naw, I’m just kidding, I’m sure plenty of people don’t like lasagna….you know like all those people who enjoy kicking kittens!! SO EVIL! Okay, I’m done. Now that that’s over, let’s get on to the recipe. A little disclaimer, I do want to start off by saying that I’m not Italian in any way, shape, or form, so I don’t actually know how to make an authentic lasagna. This is just my Pakistani take on lasagna and trust me, I’m sure it’s just as delicious as any authentic lasagna. (Okay so, I’ve never had authentic lasagna, but it can’t be much better than mine). Also, it is super easy!

Ingredients:

  • One package of Lasagna
  • Bottle of marinara sauce (or if you know how to make it, go ahead and do that!
  • One Container of Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
  • One egg
  • Ground Beef
  • Half a bell pepper (whatever color you desire)
  • One package of mozzarella cheese (about 4 cups, honestly it’s okay if there’s extra. Everyone could use more cheese)

Directions:

Before you do anything preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (unless your box says something different, then do that). Then, what you want to do is place a pot of water with a couple of big pinches of salt on high heat for about 5-10 minutes or until it’s boiling. The pot I was using was 5.5 quarts, so fairly large, and I filled it about 3/4 full. While you wait for that to boil take out a mixing bowl and put in the carton of Ricotta Cheese and the egg. I’m pretty sure it’s to make the ricotta creamier, but to be perfectly honest I have never had lasagna without the egg, so I wouldn’t really know. Now, I want you to mix it thoroughly with a fork or spatula, if your fancy like that. At first it will be pretty gross looking, but soon it will be nice and creamy:

This:                                                            to this:

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Nice, so everything is looking good so far, I’m glad. By the time you’ve finished the water should have started to boil, so you can just add your box of Lasagna. Let the Lasagna cook for 12-15 minutes or as long as your box says to. When it’s done drain in colander and set aside. I would advise putting it back in the pot with a little bit of cold water, so the lasagna doesn’t dry out. After setting aside the noodles, let’s move on to the ground beef. Now, I admit I’m using leftover Keema (Pakistani ground beef), which I have a recipe for if you would like to use that. The only change you want to make to your Keema recipe and what you want in your lasagna is that you don’t want to use as much oil. No one wants oily lasagna. I decided to heat my Keema in a large frying pan and then pour in my marinara sauce. Heat that up on medium heat for a couple minutes just to let the meaty flavor infuse into the sauce. Mmmm, so meaty and delicious. You can transfer this into a mixing bowl for easier access, but it’s not necessary.

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After all of this you should have everything set to start putting the lasagna together. You want to make this in some sort of casserole dish or something like that. Mine is a bit smaller than a casserole dish, but it still works perfectly. Here’s my set up:

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You probably noticed, that I have a smaller bowl with some sauce in it. That’s actually some bell peppers that I heated up in a pan until slightly soft, just a couple minutes. Then I added some sauce to it. You don’t have to do this, I just did this because my mom likes her veggies, so I made a part of my lasagna vegetarian, again you don’t have to do this. Of course, this goes to show that you can easily make your lasagna vegetarian. You can add a handful of chopped spinach into the ricotta or make a vegetarian sauce with bell peppers, mushrooms, and/or carrots. The possibilities are endless! Anyways, so after you have this set up the first thing you want to do is place a layer of sauce on the bottom of your dish(a little more than I did, I could have added a bit more). Then place a layer of lasagna noodle:

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The number of lasagna pieces will depend on the size of your dish and  also your lasagna (I started with five, then switched to four, it still worked great). Next you want to put a nice thick layer of ricotta cheese on it, then spoon on a layer of your meaty sauce, and finally a layer of mozzarella cheese. You can use the pre-grated cheese like I did or crumble on the more fancy, fresh mozzarella that real Italians use, my excuse is that I’m not Italian and pre-grated just gives great coverage (no pun intended….actually it may have been slightly intended):

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Looking good! Now all you need to do is continue layering this. So another layer of lasagna, then ricotta, then sauce, and last mozzarella. Do this until your last layer of lasagna and leave some sauce, ricotta, and cheese for the top. I like to end with a nice saucy, cheesy, layer on top:

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Last thing is to cover it with aluminum foil foil and bake in the middle rack of your oven for 35-40 minutes until it starts to bubble. After this uncover it and bake for another 5-10 minutes until the mozzarella cheese is bubbling and slightly browned. This is what you will hopefully end up with:

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