La Bella Lasagna

We're about to start a new year - cheers to 2013! Growing up, we always kicked off the brand new year with a big family dinner. My grandma's birthday was on January 1st, so we all gathered together to celebrate with one last final holiday hurrah before returning to normal life. (Is there such a thing?) I kind of always assumed that every family celebrated New Year's Day with a family feast. After asking my husband what his family did when he was little, I realized my family might have just been celebrating a birthday. That happened to fall on New Year's Day. Oh well, any excuse to cook a delicious meal! ;) I remember we always had one of the classic family recipes for dinner - Chicken Cacciatore, Chicken Supreme with Creamy Rice, or my great-grandma's La Bella Lasagna. Served with the classic Orange Jell-O Salad, always. (Who says Jell-O doesn't go with lasagna? Jell-O goes with everything!)  

photo 2 (10)

  La Bella Lasagna is a classic lasagna, just like your grandma (or great-grandma) used to make. Layer after layer of noodles, homemade bolognese sauce, ricotta cheese, and mozzarella cheese combine to form a dish that's comfort food at its finest. It is a bit of a process, but it's worth every single step. Plus, it'll feed you for days! Start with the bolognese sauce. Brown some ground beef along with a diced onion. Add some canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and seasonings and let it simmer about 45 minutes. Your house will smell wonderful... if other people are home, they will most likely wander into the kitchen asking to taste-test. This sauce is also delicious served over spaghetti if you don't want to fuss with lasagna.   IMG_2773   Once the sauce has simmered, mix together some ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, and eggs. Set that aside.   IMG_2775   Grate up some mozzarella, and you're ready to assemble!   IMG_2776   Start by spreading a layer of sauce in the bottom of a 13x9-inch pan.   IMG_2777   Top with a layer of oven-ready lasagna noodles.   IMG_2778   Spread the noodles with the ricotta mixture, and then sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.   IMG_2780   Repeat the layers until you've filled up the pan, and top with the last of the mozzarella.   IMG_2781   Cover the dish with foil, and bake at 350*F for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, and bake an additional 20 minutes, until the noodles are cooked through and the lasagna is bubbling.   photo 1 (9)   Serve it up with salad and garlic bread, and you've got one heck-of-a-meal! Happy New Year!   ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

La Bella Lasagna

Servings/Yield: 9x13-inch pan
  • Spaghetti Sauce (recipe below)
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 lb. mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 lb. oven-ready lasagna noodles
Method Combine ricotta and parmesan cheese. Add eggs, salt, and pepper. To assemble lasagna, pour thin layer of sauce in bottom of 9x13-inch pan. Cover with noodles. Spread ricotta mixture over noodles. Sprinkle mozzarella over ricotta mixture. Repeat starting with sauce. Cover and bake for 20 minutes at 350*F. Uncover and bake 20 minutes more, until noodles are tender. Let set 10 minutes before serving for easier cutting.  

Spaghetti Sauce

Servings/Yield: 6-8 servings
  • 1 ½ lbs. ground beef
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 16-oz. can tomatoes
  • 2 6-oz. cans tomato paste
  • 15-oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 ½ cups water
Method Brown ground beef and onion. Drain off fat. Add garlic, parsley, basil, salt, tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Simmer 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve over hot cooked noodles or in lasagna.   Source: family favorite (great-grandma Pearl!)    

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