Friday, July 15, 2011

Alan's Lasagna

Like everyone, my recipe is based off of my mother's recipe, but I made a lot of changes and they worked out so well it's the only way I'll do it anymore.

  • I’m assuming you have dried oregano and basil in the house.
  • If you goof and use too much sauce in the first layer, you can skip the sauce for the ricotta layer without hurting the taste.
  • If you still wind up with a bunch of water in the bottom of the pan when you take the first piece out, it won’t hurt anything just use a baster to suck it all out and dispose of it (or a spoon).  Just reduce the sauce more next time, not a big deal.  People will still love it.
  • If you forget to cook the mushrooms first, you can put them in raw, but you will wind up with the aforementioned water in the pan.
  • You can cook the onions/garlic/mushrooms with the meat layer and use more “pure” sauce, and perhaps save some time, I just like doing it this way.
  • Don’t be afraid to add or subtract seasoning, like tossing in some black pepper or using more parmesan, make it your own.

Alan’s Lasagna

Shopping List:
1 lb ground sirloin (or see substitution list)
1 lb mild italian sausage
1 package sliced provolone
2 packages shredded mozzarella
1 8 oz container lowfat Ricotta
1 canister parmesan (you’re dusting the top, really)
1 jar prepared pesto (you’ll need 2 tablespoons of it)
1 package sliced crimini mushrooms (or regular mushrooms, I’m just a fan of criminis)
1 box lasagna noodles
3 large cans tomato sauce
1 large can tomato paste
1 large tomato
Red wine of your choice

Allow yourself 2-3 hours to make this, don’t try to rush it.  And don't drink too much of the wine until after it's in the oven.  :)

  1. Sirloin can be substituted with ground pork, or turkey, or an additional pound of Italian sausage
  2. If using an additional pound of sausage, you could use the hot kind if you prefer, but at least one needs to be the mild/sweet to get the flavor right
  3. Sauce shortcut – buy prepared marinara sauce and add a small can of tomato paste and just simmer to reduce it down.

  1. Cook the meat together in a pan, breaking up into lumps.  After it’s all browned, put in a colander lined with paper towels to take as much grease out as possible.
  2. Saute a chopped onion and 2-3 cloves of chopped garlic with a tablespoon or so of olive oil.  Add the mushrooms, and when they’re done and have released their liquid drain the liquid out of the pan and add the tomato sauce, paste, and diced tomato.  Add some dried basil and oregano, and about ¼ cup of red wine and simmer til the sauce is thick enough to not be watery.
  3. Boil noodles as described on the package, then remove from heat and rinse with cold water to stop cooking (and make them easier to handle).
  4. Mix 2-3 tablespoons of prepared pesto with the 8oz of ricotta cheese
  5. Put about ¼ cup of tomato sauce in the bottom of your baking dish (11x9, or whatever fits)
  6. Put a layer of noodles in the bottom of the dish
  7. Add a layer of meat, using about half of the meat mixture
  8. Ladle some sauce over the meat, about a third of your sauce should be enough you don’t want to drown the thing
  9. Put slices of provolone on top of the saucy meat, sprinkle mozzarella to fill in the gaps
  10. Top with a layer of noodles
  11. Spread all of the pesto ricotta on top
  12. Spread a third of your tomato sauce on top of the pesto
  13. Put a last layer of noodles on top
  14. Put on the rest of the meat
  15. Put on the rest of the sauce
  16. If you still have some provolone slices left, use it up now on top, otherwise sprinkle liberally with shredded mozzarella.
  17. Sprinkle liberally with Parmesan.

Bake at 350 for about 45 mins to an hour, you want the cheese on top bubbly and just starting to brown a tiny bit.


  1. Thanks, it's always a big hit when I share it :)

  2. Hey Alan.. I've been going through your recipes here, and I think I want to give this one a go, but I have a question.

    I am not a fan of wine, at all.. I've heard for years that when cooking with wine you should get a wine that you enjoy drinking. What does one do if they don't like wine? I assume you can nix it, but I still wonder is there any sort of substitute for wine?

  3. In addition to flavor, the wine in this recipe brings a bit of acid to the sauce. Mostly, I just use it for the flavor really. If you leave it out it will taste different, but it'll still be awfully good I think. Give it a try and report back! :)