Better the Next Day Lasagna

by sara on January 22, 2011

It’s late January, almost February.  You’re freaking out.  SO MUCH TO DO.  It’s practically 2012 already.  CALM DOWN.  I’m here to help.  Make this lasagna recipe on Sunday night and you’ll have dinner all next week.  You won’t get sick of it either because it gets better with age.

I used this recipe from Giada.  Her recipe called for making my own tomato sauce which I did but it took forevz and made way more than what I needed so just buy a jar.

Here’s what you’ll need:

-7 tbsps unsalted butter
-1/2 cup all purpose flour
-4 cups whole milk at room temperature
-pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
-1 and 1/2 cup tomato sauce
-salt and white pepper to season
-1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
-1 lb ground beef
-1 and 1/2 lb ricotta cheese
-3 large eggs
-1 box lasagna sheets
-2 pkgs (10 oz each) frozen chopped spinach
-3 cups shredded mozzarella
-1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan

How’d that can of Four Loko get in there?  First things first, measure out four cups of milk and let sit while you prepare the other ingredients (needs to be at room temp).  Also, get your spinach out and let defrost.

Since I made my own tomato sauce, I’m just going to include the pictures to show you how it was done.  But I highly encourage you to buy a jar.

Preheat the oven to 375.  Make the bechamel sauce by adding 5 tbsps of unsalted butter to a pot over medium heat.

Once it has melted, whisk in 1/2 cup all-purpose flour and whisk until smooth, about 1-2 minutes.

Gradually add the 4 cups of milk and continue whisking to prevent clumps from forming.  Continue to simmer and whisk over medium heat until the sauce is thick and creamy, roughly 10 minutes.  To know when it is done, dip a wooden spoon in the sauce then slide your finger down the middle of the spoon.  If the sauce comes back together in the middle, your sauce is not thick enough.  If it remains separated on the spoon, your sauce is done.  Voila.  Remove from the heat.  Now, stir in freshly grated nutmeg and 1 and 1/2 cups of tomato sauce then set aside and let cool completely.

Next step, cook zee beef.  Heat up a drizzle of EVOO then add the ground beef and season with salt and white pepper.  Brown the meat, breaking up any BIG LUMPS.  Once it is cooked through, set aside and let cool.

In a medium size bowl, mix together 3 eggs, ricotta and some salt and pepper to season.  Now, get excited because it’s time to start layering.

Layer 1: In a 13×9 baking dish, spread 1/3 of the bechamel sauce on the bottom.

Layer 2: Layer the lasagna sheets side by side breaking some up if necessary.  The lasagna sheets will absorb the sauce and cook through in the oven.  Cwazy!

Layer 3: Spread entire ricotta mixture over the lasagna sheets.

Layer 4: After the spinach has thawed, squeeze out remaining water then sprinkle that mess over the ricotta mixture.

Layer 5: Add another layer of lasagna sheets followed by the entire batch of ground beef.  Sprinkle 1/2 of the mozzarella mixture on top of the beef.

Layer 6: You’re gonna think you’re gonna run out of room but don’t be skerrd.  Just keep piling. Spread another 1/3 of the bechamel sauce then top that with the final layer of lasagna sheets.

Layer 7: Top with the remaining 1/3 of bechamel sauce, mozzarella and parmesan cheese.  Cut up 2 tbsps of butter and add chunks on top of the cheese to give it a nice browning effect.  Also, it will make you jump higher.

Line a sheet pan with foil to catch drippings.  Also, cover that beautiful lasagna specimen with foil.  Invest in aluminum.

Throw it (actually place it gently) in the middle rack of your oven for 30 minutes. Eat an apple while you watch your beautiful creation become dinner.  After 30 minutes, remove the foil and continue baking for another 15 minutes.

When it is finished, pull it out of the oven and stare at it for 10 minutes.  You just made that.  Run to the nearest human and get them to pat you on the back.  You deserve it.

You’re going to have a hard time not enjoying this right out of the oven but for some reason the lasagna got better with age.  Plus, it solidifies overnight and is much easier to cut.

Make this lasagna for yourself.  For your family.  For your co-workers.  They already appreciate you for everything you do but this time they might actually thank you for it.

Also, don’t forget to tuck in the dogs when you’re done.  They’re exhausted from drooling.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Janice January 22, 2011 at 7:41 pm

This looks frickin fantastic! I wanna make this forreals. Did u buy lasagna u don’t have to pre cook? Is that labeled? I’m scared. Four loko was a nice touch. Classy! Can u bring some leftovers next time? Thnks!

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sara January 22, 2011 at 9:11 pm

We were confused about the lasagna sheets too but nope just buy any old lasagna sheets in the pasta aisle (we got store brand) and they will cook in the 13×9 pan. I actually learned this tip from Giada herself. She’s adorable, has huge knockers and knows how to cook. Like me only different. LOL! Make it and let me know how it goes! If I can do it, anyone can.

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Serene January 26, 2011 at 3:21 pm

I also didn’t know about the pasta sheets baking with the lasagna, I thought you have to boil them first. Excellent tip! I will try to make it. I’ve been making Bechamel sauce forevs by the way. I make it with penne and ground turkey and mozzarella and bake it for a few minutes.. You can use the sauce without the tomato sauce or with. Deliciousness. Thanks Sara and Giada. Now I want her book.

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