Organic ingredients such as tomato sauce, cheese, grass fed and finished beef produce a very rich, comforting, and delicious meal. Everything in moderation has always been my philosophy with food. I never deprive myself of anything so that I can always enjoy everything! The key is moderation and balance. My personal serving for lasagna is usually a 2x2 inch portion along with large serving of Mediterranean green salad using high quality extra virgin olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice as dressing.
I'm certain I am not the first person you think of when it comes to Italian cuisine and I definitely do not consider myself well versed in Italian cooking; but I promise you, this delicious, cheesy, satisfying lasagna recipe will become your staple nights you crave an authentic Italian meal. Not only is this recipe easy to make, it can be prepared on the weekend and baked on any busy weeknight and consumed throughout the week as an equally delicious leftover.
I hope my favorite recipe will soon become yours!
1lb. organic grass fed and finished beef
1 large onion finely dice
28 oz. chopped organic tomatoes (I prefer 8-10 Roma tomatoes; however if unavailable 1 28 oz. of organic chopped tomatoes will do)
1 12 oz. can organic tomatoes paste
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon each thyme and oregano leaves; crushed in palm of hands to release natural fragrant oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
2 bay leaves
approximately 8-10 lasagna noodles
2 large organic eggs
1 15 oz. organic ricotta cheese
12-14 oz. fresh mozzarella chopped into cubes
9x13 inch baking dish
*optional bechamel sauce:
3 tablespoons of butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
3/4 cup warm milk
In a large frying pan over medium heat, cook down ground beef into crumbles along with onion until pan juices evaporate and beef is browned; mix in garlic salt and black pepper. Add tomatoes and paste and continue to cook down for an additional 5 minutes. Stir in sugar, salt, red pepper, thyme, oregano and 2 bay leaves. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile cook lasagna noodles as recommended on package; drain well in colander.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a baking dish arrange half of drained lasagna noodles overlapping to fit. In a small bowl, combine eggs, ricotta cheese with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Using a fork, whip all ingredients well together. Spoon half of this mixture over lasagna noodles in baking dish. Sprinkle half of mozzarella on top of ricotta mix. Top with half of meat sauce. Repeat again with noodles, ricotta, mozzarella (save 1/2 cup for topping) and meat sauce. If not using béchamel sauce, sprinkle on top 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and wait 15 minutes prior to serving.
If preparing béchamel sauce, in a medium size sauce pan over low heat, melt butter. Add flour to hot melted butter and using a French whip stir constantly for about two minutes until slightly golden and well blended. Gradually stir in warm milk and nutmeg while stirring until mixture is thick and smooth (consistency similar to thick gravy), approximately 15 minutes.
Pour béchamel sauce over meat sauce and then sprinkle remaining mozzarella cheese on top. Bake for 50 minutes and let stand for 15 minutes before serving.