Note: This is part of a series as I cook through my mom’s recipe box.
Growing up (and still today) my mom and aunts on my father’s side always used the same recipe for lasagna, one that was passed down from my dad’s mother and lovingly referred to as “Grandma Hill’s Lasagna.” I vaguely remembering copying this recipe from my dad’s sister one time when I was visiting in Indiana. My mom must have misplaced her copy and asked me to write this down for her. It is a family favorite, which I made recently to share with my in-laws when my dad was visiting. It was a hit!
When I’m going to this much effort, I sometimes like to make a double batch of sauce so I can freeze half for later preparation (that’s why the cans of sauce are larger in the picture). Therefore, I browned a total of 3 pounds of meat including a pound each of the ground beef and ground pork specified in the recipe but also a pound of Italian turkey sausage (removed from casings). Feel free to use whatever meat or meat substitute you’re comfortable with for this portion of the sauce.
In a large stockpot I added the meat and other sauce ingredients (see below) and then let everything simmer at low-medium low heat for about half an hour.
Meanwhile, I boiled the lasagna noodles, drained them, and laid them out so they wouldn’t stick together until I was ready to layer the lasagna in the baking dish.
I was finally ready to assemble my lasagna. I greased my baking dishes; it turns out this recipe as written below is large enough for 1 large dish and one smaller (9×9) dish. I like to begin with a ladle of sauce at the bottom of the pan. Then, you just take turns placing noodles, sauce, Mozzarella cheese, Ricotta cheese. In the past, my mom always used cottage cheese because I think she had trouble finding Ricotta. But I found some and decided to give it a try. I ended up just spooning lumps of of it randomly around the dish–it all tastes good, right? End with a layer of Mozzarella cheese and then sprinkle Parmesan on top. I ended up having extra Ricotta so I added it at the end–I don’t recommend that, as I think it cooks better between layers.
I made my lasagna a day in advance, so when I completed the layering, I wrapped it with plastic wrap. When we were ready to bake it, dinner was just a short stint in the oven away.
Here’s the recipe:
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1/2 lb. ground pork
- 3/4 c. onion, chopped fine (I used one large onion)
- 1 clove garlic (or 1/8 tsp. garlic powder)
- 1 tsp. parsley, cut fine (I used dried)
- 2 cups water
- 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
- 1 15 oz. can of tomato sauce
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
- 1 lb. Mozzarella cheese, sliced thin (I used shredded)
- 1 lb. Ricotta cheese (or large curd cottage cheese)
- Shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 lb. pkg. Lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
Cook ground meat in heavy sauce pan until color changes. Add onion, garlic, parsley, water, tomato sauce, and seasonings. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for about 30 minutes. In a greased casserole, arrange alternate layers of cooked and drained lasagna noodles, meat sauce, Mozzarella and Ricotta cheese. End with layer of Mozzarella and sprinkle top with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees about 30 minutes or until Mozzarella cheese is melted (we ended up baking at 375 because our uncooked lasagna had been refrigerated; it may take longer than 30 minutes to brown top to your preference).