I remember watching Garfield cartoons on TV when I was younger and always thought the idea of a cat eating a whole lasagna was hilarious. Jim Davis wasn’t wrong, though. I have a few favourite renditions of this dish, made mainly by close family members. I’d love to tell you my number one, but then I have to buy flowers and cards for the others and grovel and plead, and feelings are hurt, and I get less lasagna! Something Garfield would not have stood for!
My lasagna is a straightforward recipe to make, and we enjoy it every time. But I tell my kids that there a small handful of meals that are ALWAYS better the next day. Lasagna is one of them, followed by coleslaw, pulled pork, and pizza. Though this is not a list set in stone though, there can be additions and subtractions. This recipe definitely lends to a second supper—if you can make it that long.
I realize that Homemade is Better could also include homemade pasta, and I do love homemade pasta, so I’ll make it and tell you how. You need some special equipment for that, though, unless you don’t mind rolling out pasta for hours. But in this recipe, I use oven-ready noodles. If I were to use homemade pasta, I would also use mascarpone cheese instead of cottage cheese, and I’d likely add a few other fancy ingredients like a mix of pork and beef, some spinach, and fresh herbs.
But this? This is a quick and dirty let’s make a lasagna quickish for supper tonight. You don’t need a lot of extra steps, and it pays off. The reluctance to use homemade pasta is simply time, and if we are being honest, we don’t always have enough of it.
When my wife comes home from her very demanding job at the end of a long hard day, she’s tired, hungry, and just wants to relax. As a side note, I said the opposite in my interview with Minds We Meet, and thankfully my error was pointed out to me.
I’m equally sure that you are tired after a long day as well. If you’re working full-time, or part-time, or at home caring for little ones while your partner is working, or perhaps you’re a single parent; you just need something in under an hour. This is the perfect recipe for that. All you have to do is pre-assemble it and put it in the oven when you get home. It’s a dish that can sit and wait for you. You can even cook it days ahead and pull it out to warm it up. It’s very versatile.
So, I leave you with this recipe! I hope you enjoy it, and thank you for continuing to read my articles!
1 tbsp olive oil
½ onion – diced
4 cloves of garlic – minced
2 lbs of ground beef
2 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
½ tsp thyme
½ tsp rosemary
2 tsp parsley
¼ cup of red wine or beef stock
1 can of plain tomato sauce – do not use flavoured
1 can of diced tomatoes
1-2 bay leaves
1 box of oven-ready noodles
1L cottage cheese
3-4 cups of shredded Mozza
- Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add the oil, onions, and garlic.
- Cook the onions and garlic until they start to become translucent, then add the beef.
- Increase your heat slightly; you want it more high than medium.
- Add your salt to the beef and cook until no pink is left.
- Add the herbs and red wine (or beef broth if you’re using that).
- Cook until the liquid is reduced to ¼ of its original volume. You shouldn’t see very much of it.
- Add the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes and stir carefully.
- Add the bay leaves and stir again.
- Cover and let it simmer ideally for about 2 hours; but if you’re short on time, let it simmer for at least 30 minutes. The longer simmer brings out more flavour from your herbs and allows the flavours to blend more.
- Once your sauce is done, let it cool slightly.
- Grab a 9” x 13” pan; glass or metal is fine. If you’re using metal, I suggest parchment on the bottom, making cleaning up easier.
- Place ¼ cup of sauce on the bottom and spread it out. It will be very thin, and that’s ok.
- Layer 3 noodles side by side.
- Add 1 cup of sauce and spread it.
- Add 1 cup of cottage cheese and spread it as well.
- Repeat steps 13-15 until you are out of noodles.
- You should have just enough sauce left for the top, then spread the rest of the cottage cheese if you have any and top it with the Mozza.
- Once you’re ready to cook it, cover the lasagna with tin foil and preheat your oven to 350F.
- Bake for 40 minutes in the middle of the oven, I recommend using a sheet pan under the dish, so that you can avoid spills later.
- After 40 minutes, remove the tinfoil and place the lasagna back in the oven for another 20 minutes or until the cheese on top starts to brown.
- Remove from the oven and let it rest 10 – 20 minutes before cutting into it.
- Try to save some for your lunch—if you can.