The Best Lasagna Ever!

Did I entice you with the title?  Now, I know I’m making a really bold statement here.  While it’s nearly impossible to mess up on lasagna (what can go wrong with that heaping amount of cheese!),  you definitely can distinguish the ones that are down-right exquisite.  For me, those are usually the ones made with a tomato sauce that’s been simmering away for hours on end, pasta that’s perfectly al dente, smothered in exceptional cheeses…you know what I’m talking about, right?  Well, this particular layered square of goodness that I had recently does not meet any of those criteria, and yet I still claim it as “The Best Lasagna Ever!”  Why?  Bc it was made with love…haha, a lil’ cheesy, am I?

You see, I’ve been very busy lately so I haven’t been in the kitchen as much as I normally would be.  My wonderful husband, therefore, took it upon himself to make me one of my favorites.  He did everything, from grocery shopping, to finding recipes (Anne Burrell’s at that!  How fancy!), and cleaning the dishes!  Am I the luckiest girl or what?

Believe it or not, he labored away for about 4 hours!  Now, don’t worry…it seriously should not take that long!  He’s just a lil’ incompetent rusty in the kitchen.  I desperately wanted to take over help him, but he just shoved me out and told me to go study.  However, I did sneak in from time to time to take pictures and to check up on him, of course.  Here’s how it all went down…

Adapted from Anne Burrell’s Lasagna recipe

Print Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 (16 oz.) box of lasagna noodles
  • 2 Tbs Olive oil
  • 1 Ib of ground Beef (96% lean)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed, divided
  • crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 (12 oz) package cremini mushrooms, stems removed, sliced
  • 2 zucchini, cut in 1/2 lengthwise
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 2 cups part-skim ricotta
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, divided
  • 2 eggs
  • 6-7 basil leaves, cut into chiffonade *
  • 1 (24 oz) jar of your favorite marinara sauce
  • 1 pound grated mozzarella
  • Salt to taste

* In my opinion, these basil leaves were the star of this dish!

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Cook the lasagna noodles until they are soft and pliable,  6-7 minutes.  Work in batches. Remove pasta from the boiling water and lay flat on a sheet tray to cool.
  2. Coat a large saute pan with 1 Tbs olive oil and bring to med-high heat.  Add the beef, onions and cook until browned.  Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Coat the pan again with 1 Tbs olive oil and add 2 cloves of garlic and a pinch of crushed red pepper.  When the garlic becomes golden and aromatic, remove it from the heat and discard.  Toss in the mushrooms and season with salt.  Cook the mushrooms until they are soft and dark brown, 4-5 min.  Remove from pan and reserve.  Repeat this process with the remaining garlic and the zucchini.  *
  4. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, 1/2 the Parmigiano, eggs, and the basil.  Mix to combine well and season with salt.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  6. To assemble: In the bottom of a 9 by 13 baking dish, add a couple of ladlefuls of sauce and spread out in an even layer.  Arrange a layer of noodles to completely cover the sauce.  Spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture over the pasta.  Place another layer of pasta.  Spread a layer of sauce on the pasta and sprinkle 1/3 of the beef mixture over the sauce, add 1/3 of mushrooms, zucchini, spinach.  Sprinkle a layer of mozzarella and Parmigiano over the veggies.  Repeat the layers until all the ingredients have been used up.  Top with remaining noodles and sauce.  Sprinkle with Mozzarella and Parmigiano.  Cover with foil.
  7. Place the lasagna on a baking sheet and bake in the oven until hot and bubbly, about 1 hour.  Remove foil and bake additional 15 min.  Let cool for 20 min before slicing. **

* Although this step seems tedious, it’s SO worth it!  The garlic infused veggies make them that much more special!

** Yes, it’s so tempting to dig in right away, but if you want to get a nice slice that retains its shape instead of collapsing, WAIT!  The original recipe instructs to make and bake the lasagna the day before for optimal slicing.  Just heat it up again before slicing.

Ok.  So I know that the directions are like a mile long.  However, it’s not so bad (says the girl who did not make it).  Yes, if you’ve made lasagna before, it’s a bit time-consuming and tedious mostly due to the assembly part, but it’s definitely not difficult.  This recipe was rated easy by FoodNetwork, if that means anything to you.

No, I did not tell him to put that apron on. I came out of my study and this is what I saw…

One of my favorite kitchen tools – Japanese Mandoline!

It’s assembly time…It doesn’t need to be so precise.  It’ll be good regardless.

Oh boy…what a glorious sight….ooey-gooey cheese….

Yup, I waited patiently before slicing.  A perfect slice!  Worth the wait, right?

Don’t you just love all the extra veggies and the use of lean meat (not part of the original recipe)?  The man sure loves me ;).

What do you think?  How did he do?

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26 Responses to The Best Lasagna Ever!

  1. OH my gosh. This is like a lasagna after my own heart, haha. I’m LOVING all those veggies in there!!! I must must must make this!

  2. A man who knows how to cook….Tim really is a keeper! This looks amazing! And hey, it’s got veggies so it’s gotta be healthy, right ;)! SO glad lasagna is on the menu tonight…and the real deal (low fat just won’t cut it)!

  3. awwww this was so nice of him! He looks cute in that apron too! (: I love lasagna! It is definitely one of my favorite italian meals! you should definitely keep him around 😉

  4. It does look like the best ever! Love the addition of the zucchini and basil. He is great 🙂

  5. Min this looks amazing! I love the addition of the veggies and I love that Tim took time to make this! Definitely a keeper 🙂

  6. eatpraytri says:

    ok first of all, is that your kitchen? DYING of jealousy over here! Second….I used to HATE lasagna…I’m not sure why. Now I love it and would love to make it more often but never have had time. Hopefully sometime in the near future I can devote some more time to it. This recipe looks so awesome. You are a lucky gal to have such a great guy!!

  7. Kym says:

    Brownie Husband Points!!! 😀 It looks DELICIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!! My mouth was already watering reading your first paragraph when you were describing it. Haha!

  8. Michelle says:

    Oh my goodness, a guy who will cook lasagna for you… and likes lasagna?!? Tim’s amazing! And I love the apron 🙂 I am still missing lasagna after my eggplant lasagna with no ricotta – the ricotta is definitely a must! There’s no substitute! I love all of the veggie additions. I’m going to have to try this and use some of my basil – my plant is starting to overtake my windowsill!

    Hope you’re having a great day at school, Min!

    • Min says:

      Oh yea..I remember Craig’s “no thank you” food list. Hopefully that will change soon. YOu work your magic, my friend ;). I agree. Ricotta= perfection! How are you doing?

  9. Carol says:

    It looks divine, Min. Your husband is a very considerate man; tell him he looks fabulous in green ruffles.

  10. daileeblossom says:

    The lasagna looks delicious – love the veggies in it. And of course, you’re right… Everything is best when made with love! You are a lucky lady!! 😉

  11. Looks so tasty! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  12. Your hubby is just adorable! That is so sweet.
    I love this recipe, especially all the veggies!

  13. Linz says:

    That’s impressive, Hubby! And totally digging the apron! 🙂 🙂

  14. Lauren says:

    Oh dear….that looks amazing! My husband barely knows how to pour milk, much less cook lasagna! You are a lucky lady! 🙂 Love the addition of all the veggies! It takes away some of the guilt of eating pasta.

    • Min says:

      Haha! Maybe you’re spoiling him way too much! Oh yes, I def appreciated all the veggies! However, lasagna’s one of those comfort foods that I don’t mind indulging in every now and then 😉

  15. Aw, great job Tim!!! What a sweet idea…food that’s cooked by someone else with love always tastes extra yummy 🙂 Patrick used to cook a lot…before we got married, hehe. He used to make sloppy joe’s, curries, enchiladas!

    My mom has that exact same mandoline. I’ve been thinking about getting one, but keep forgetting…what kind of Japanese girl am I? 🙂

    Hope you’re having a great week!!

    • Min says:

      Ooh…enchiladas..now we haven’t made that in awhile! It’s def one of our favorites! Haha..yes yes you must get a mandoline! Such a time saver! But I’m kinda scared of it as I’m very prone to accidents. Therefore, Tim sacrifices himself 😉

      • myhealthyohana says:

        Yes, I’m so afraid of cutting myself! I’ve been a goof in the kitchen the past few days…put too much yeast in my bread maker, so it overflowed…put too much whole wheat flour in my banana bread so it was dense…sigh. I’m eating them all though, it’s still good food 🙂

  16. albertocook says:

    I like your lasagna.
    Bye from italy

  17. I don’t think I have ever had a meat lasagna, on thinking about it! How bizarre – and although I have had lots of veggie ones in more recent years, I’ve never made one myself! I may have to give it a go. You and your husband are so cute 🙂

    • Min says:

      Oh yes! Homemade lasagna is delicious! So fun and rewarding too! 😉 You and your husband should make it together! Ahh, now I can call him that instead of mr. bite ;).

  18. What a lucky girl you are! I’m lucky to have a boyfriend who loves to cook too :). He usually takes his time as well.. That lasagna looks amazing though! Props to him! And I LOVE his apron 🙂

  19. Pingback: Basil Lemon Chicken, Quinoa Salad |

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