Three Cheese Lasagna

Three Cheese Lasagna (adapted from Bon Appetit - March 1997)  

SAUCE

  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces lean ground beef
  • 6 ounces mild or spicy Italian sausages, casings removed
  • 2 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes 
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbs dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried crushed red pepper

LASAGNA

  • 12 lasagna noodles (you will have to trim the noodles for 9x9 pan)
  • 1 15-ounce containers part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 
  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach, chopped
  • 1 large eggs
  • 2 cups finely grated mozzeralla

FOR SAUCE:

Heat oil in large heavy pot or saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté until softened, about 12 minutes. Add beef and sausages to pan; sauté until cooked through, breaking up meat with back of spoon, about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer until flavors blend, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Cool.

FOR LASAGNA:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook noodles in large pot of boiling salted water until almost tender, about 7 minutes. Drain; cover with cold water.

Combine ricotta and Parmesan cheese in medium bowl. Mix in spinach. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in egg.

Drain pasta and pat dry. Spread 1/2 cup sauce over bottom of 9x9-inch glass baking dish. Place 4 noodles over sauce, overlapping and trimming to fit. Spread half of ricotta-spinach mixture evenly over noodles. Sprinkle 1 cups mozzarella cheese evenly over ricotta-spinach mixture. Spoon half of the sauce over cheese, spreading with spatula to cover (sauce will be thick). Repeat layering with 4 noodles, remaining ricotta-spinach mixture, 1 cups mozzarella and sauce. Repeat and top off with extra shredded cheese and fresh basil. (Can be prepared up to 1 day ahead. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate.) Cover baking dish with aluminum foil. Bake lasagna 40 minutes; uncover and bake until hot and bubbly, about 40 minutes. Let lasagna stand 15 minutes before serving.

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