I'm lousy at taking food photos, so I have no image of mine. Rest assured the distinctive noodles will be put to good use in my mom's lasagna.
My mom maintains a stable of tried-and-true go-tos for big dinners and picnics, including lasagna.
You could say it was my first recipe, and it’s served me well over the years. I made it for more than one boyfriend and my college roommates, and none of them went hungry that day.
It’s by no means the lasagna Italian folks grew up on, but I love it, and so does my husband.
John ran a half-marathon (13.1 miles) in Cleveland Sunday, something he trained for by running 600 miles over 18 weeks. He’s been eating us out of house and home.
Yesterday was not a day for screwing around with unproven or portion-controlled recipes. It was time to bring out the big gun.
1 pound ground round, or lean hamburger
1 67-ounce jar Prego Traditional Italian sauce
8 lasagna noodles, boiled if necessary (some you don’t have to. I like to use whole-wheat noodles when I can find them.)
32 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
(Mom uses a 10-ounce box of frozen spinach, but John doesn’t like it.)
6 medium slices provolone cheese
8 ounces shredded mozzarella
1. Brown ground round in a large skillet, drain fat and add Prego. Turn heat to low and stir once in a while.
2. Prepare lasagna noodles according to package instructions. If you have noodles that don’t require boiling, skip this step.
3. Combine ricotta, Parmesan and eggs, and stir well.
4. Thaw and squeeze moisture from spinach, if using.
5. When the noodles are done, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
6. Spread 2 cups of meat sauce in a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Cover sauce with 4 of the noodles.
7. Gently spread ricotta mixture over noodles. If you’re adding the spinach, spread it over the ricotta. (I used a medium sliced zucchini Sunday, which made it a little watery.) Cover ricotta (or vegetables if using) with provolone slices.
8. Cover provolone with 4 more noodles. Pour the rest of the sauce over top and spread mozzarella cheese evenly over top.
9. Bake, covered with foil, 45 minutes, or until bubbling. (If it’s not bubbling, that means the center isn’t hot enough.) Remove from oven and let the lasagna rest at least 10 minutes before slicing.
Cook’s note: Sometimes Mom builds this the day before or in the morning and puts it in the refrigerator. If it’s cold, you probably need to cook it an hour or so.