(here's a version I made on 10/21/12 adding sauted kale to the cottage cheese layer)
I was over at Mark's parents' house and his mom had this 1950's cookbook. I can't remember what it was called, but it had a cute retro cover and some great recipes in it with equally great pictures. As I paged through this book, I noticed that it contained good old fashioned recipes, but done right. They weren't "made easy" or dumbed down to "5 ingredients or less" like many of the popular cookbooks snatched up by busy working moms and wives these days. No, this cookbook just had good-looking, probably good-tasting food in it and right smack in the middle of the book was this recipe: Lasagna Supreme. The picture looked delicious. It looked creamy, cheesy, and full of flavor.
Now, you're probably not shocked when I say that I rarely, if ever, make lasagna. It's just not something I normally make. That's like me making a roast or a casserole... I just don't gravitate towards those type of meals. Maybe they're too played out in my mind or they're just not challenging enough... maybe they're just not "Tara Recipes". :-) But after coming across this recipe for lasagna, I decided maybe it was time for me to find a good recipe for lasagna that I could tuck away in my recipe box and pull out maybe once a year and make a couple lasagnas - one to eat and one to freeze.
So I gave this recipe a shot, and you know what? It was AWESOME. The cottage cheese/egg/parmesan mixture was KEY. I believe I like cottage cheese in a lasagna more than ricotta. Yeah, I said it, you want some a this? haha... Hey, don't get me wrong; I LOVE ricotta cheese like any Italian man's girlfriend should... but in a lasagna, I'm reachin' for the cottage cheese. Got it?
So if you'd like to take the time to slap a few of these babies together and tuck them away in the freezer or deliver to your sick friend or serve to your mom on Mother's Day, then here's how you make it:
Start by boiling your lasagna noodles per the box instructions. I used Barilla.
Drain your lasagna noodles and drizzle a bit of olive oil on them so they don't stick together. Lay them out on a plate until you're ready to use them.
Brown your ground beef and italian sausage with onion and garlic, then drain.
I like my mushrooms browned when I cook them, so after removing the meat mixture from the pan, I added the mushrooms and seasoned them with dried basil and marjoram. I sauted them until lightly browned...
...then I added the meat mixture back in with the mushrooms and stirred everything together to distribute the basil and marjoram off of the mushrooms and into the rest of the ingredients.
I then poured in my own homemade pasta sauce that I made just a couple days before. I did this in place of adding the tomatoes and tomato paste.
Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
While that's simmering, beat two eggs...
...then add the cotage cheese, Parmesan cheese, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix well.
Now it's time to layer. Since your glass dish has been greased, go ahead and lay the noodles down first. There was no need to put any sauce on the bottom of the dish - I promise. Next spread half the cottage cheese mixture over the noodles.
Cover the cottage cheese mixture with half of the meat mixture...
...then top with half the cheddar and mozzarella cheese.
Repeat the same layers again. The thing that I added to the recipe was to top it all off with another layer of noodles (strongly suggested by Mark), then a bit more pasta sauce on top just for moisture.
Pop the lasagnas in the oven at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.
When the lasagna has about 5-8 minutes left, sprinkle a bit more cheese on top, then put it back in the oven to finish.
Remove the hot lasagnas from the oven and let them rest for at least 10 minutes before you attemp to cut into one of them.
Serve with some salad and crusty bread and you're all set! It was quite good and this will officially be my go-to recipe for lasagna every single time. Unless of course I'm making a crazy seafood lasagna, or something like that. :-)
Yield: Makes 8 to 10 servings
8 ounces uncooked lasagna noodles
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound mild Italian sausage, casings removed
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes, undrained and chopped
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves
1 can (4 ounces) sliced mushrooms, drained
2 cups (16 ounces) cream-style cottage cheese
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
3 cups (12 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
1. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions; drain.
2. Cook meats, onion and garlic in large skillet over medium-high heat until meat is brown, stirring to separate meat. Drain fat.
3. Add tomatoes with juice, tomato paste, basil and marjoram. Reduce heat to low. Cover; simmer 15 minutes, stirring often. Stir in mushrooms; set aside.
4. Preheat oven to 375°F. Beat eggs in large bowl; add cottage cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix well.
5. Place half the noodles in bottom of greased 13X9-inch baking pan. Spread half the cottage cheese mixture over noodles, then half the meat mixture and half the Cheddar cheese and mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers. Top with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
6. Bake lasagna 40 to 45 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.
Tip: Lasagna can be assembled, covered and refrigerated up to 2 days in advance. Bake, uncovered, in preheated 375°F oven 60 minutes or until bubbly.