My mom makes a pretty amazing meat lasagna. Every year before my birthday mom would say...."so, what do you want this year for your birthday dinner?". Two seconds later I would dramatically answer......
What I love about mom's lasagna is that she uses cottage cheese rather than ricotta cheese. I know, I know. The "real" Italian way is to use ricotta cheese. Luckily our family has no Italian roots, so we're off the hook. We can use cottage cheese and not feel guilty (three cheers for cottage cheese!). I remember one year she made it with ricotta cheese and my sister and I were devastated. The conversation went something like this:
Daughters (in sweet yet panicked voices): Uhhh...mom...what's going on with the lasagna? It tastes different. It's not the same ol' lasagna we're used to. I mean, it's not bad, it's just not the same. Why is it different?
Mom (in sweet yet cautious voice): Oh. Well, I used ricotta cheese instead of cottage cheese. I thought I would change it up this time.
Daughters (in sweet yet demanding voices): Ahhhh! Yep, that's it. How about you never change it up again? What do ya say?
I imagine mom wrote a quick note on her recipe card: NEVER use ricotta cheese when making for high maintenance yet lovely daughters.
Let's get to the recipe already......
Mom's Meat LasagnaSource: Kitchen of Mom Gomez
For meat sauce:
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1/2 cup minced onion
1 clove garlic
3 six ounce cans tomato paste
3 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 sweet basil leaves or 2 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 tsp oregano
In large sauce pan, cook onions until soft, but not brown (about 2 minutes). Add garlic and cook until fragrant (about 2 minutes). Add ground beef and cook until brown. Drain any excess fat. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 1 hour and 30 minutes. If using basil leaves, remove from sauce.
For main dish:
10 cooked lasagna
3 cups cottage cheese
3 cups mozzarella
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In 9 x 12 baking dish layer 5 cooked noodles, 1 1/2 cups cottage cheese, 1 cup mozzarella and half of the meat sauce. Repeat. Bake for 45 minutes. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup mozzarella on top of lasagna and bake for 15 more minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before cutting.
Step By Step
Cook onions and garlic.
Add ground beef and brown.
NOW FOR THE FUN LAYERING......
Layer and bake.
Then enjoy all the meaty, cheesy goodness!