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The Best Damn Lasagna on Earth!

The Best Damn Lasagna on Earth!
Oh lasagna, you ooey gooey saucy hot mess of flavor! I love you so! I often think of Garfield and try to achieve a lasagna that even he would go nuts over. It’s taken a long time but I feel as if I’m getting a little closer to my goal with each try.
Lasagna seems a simple enough idea until you try it. Honestly, it’s pretty involved. Expect to use practically every pan you own. Also plan on at least one hour of prep and one hour to cook. On the bright side, there is often leftovers, depending on how many you are feeding. Lasagna is kind of funny in that it’s one of those meals that actually tastes better reheated after a day in the fridge. The layers seem more defined and congealed, especially that pesky ricotta.
Which brings me to my first rant: ricotta. Ugh, I’ve had so many ricotta fails, it’s silly. And if the ricotta sucks, the dish sucks. I’ve poured over so many recipes and they all do it different. Some say include it in every layer, some say every other layer. Does it go before or after the sauce? What do you mix with it? How do you just make it work??? I’ve tried a bunch of different techniques and have found 3 critical pointers:
  1. Dry out your ricotta. If it’s too wet, it will make your lasagna sloshy. To accomplish this I spread the ricotta on a plate and put a couple of paper towels over it for an hour or two. It’s surprising how much water is in the cheese. I replaced the towels a couple of times each layer was well soaked after 15 minutes! When I started to work with the cheese, I noticed a significant difference in the texture.
  2. Only have 1 layer of ricotta. Many recipes say there should be a ricotta layer in between each set of noodles. This becomes ricotta overkill and typically results in a mushy lasagna.
  3. Rev up your ricotta! I like to add pesto and parmesan to brighten up an overall basic flavor. 
And that’s just the cheese!! 
Let’s move on to meat…. pork!! Every time, pork pork pork!! I was raised with an understanding that anything Italian and meaty should be made with ground beef. Wrong!! Ground pork is where it’s at. The flavors are richer. Now I still do like a little beef so I do a 50/50 mix. But seriously, if you’re not using pork, your selling yourself short. You don’t even need to get fancy Italian seasoned pork! I love using the plain breakfast style ground pork. 
And finally, the layers! The real key to making an epic lasagna, is figuring out your layer order. Each bite of lasagna should be that perfect blend of meat, sauce, noodles, and cheese. If the layers aren’t correct, the whole dish falls apart in my opinion. After extensive research and oh so much trial and error, I am happy to present my go to, fool proof, fail proof technique to layering lasagna:

The full recipe is also include below! 
How to Layer Lasagna: 
In a 9×13 pan, spread a thin layer of sauce.
Next lay out your first layer of noodles and cover with meat sauce. 
Add a generous layer of mozzarella.
Then another layer of noodles topped with all the ricotta blend.
Sprinkle with more mozzarella to help it bind. 
One more layer of noodles and add the rest of the sauce… and don’t put the last cheese layer on yet! You heard me! You are going to cook the lasagna without the epic top cheese layer first!! Cover it with foil, cut a few vents and bake for 30 minutes.
Take the pan out and remove the foil. Doesn’t that layered look just make you drool?
Now put on that epic last layer of mozzarella cheese! And don’t skimp! You shouldn’t see any sauce under that layer! I like to add a little garlic salt and parmesan to the top for extra flavor.
Bake for another 20-30 minutes until cheese is browned and bubbly.

Enjoy!!




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