The history of lasagna:
When was lasagna invented? The Italian favorite of lasagne or lasagna that we all know and love originated in Italy in the city of Naples during the Middle Ages. One of the first references to modern-day lasagne can be found in a 14th-century English cookbook that highlighted a dish with layers of pasta without the tomatoes. Later, another reference was made to lasagne in an Italian cookbook in the 1880s that featured tomato sauce.
The dish eventually evolved into the traditional lasagna of Naples called “Lasagna di Carnevale” made with local sausage, fried meatballs, hard-boiled eggs, ricotta or mozzarella, and Neapolitan Ragu. One of the most popular variations of this lasagna dish is called “Lasagna al Forno.” This variation originates from the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna and is made with ricotta or mozzarella, thick Ragu, bechamel sauce, wine, onion, oregano, and green sheets of pasta made with spinach. Lasagne’s history wouldn’t be complete without variety throughout the regions of Italy. Different areas may use different dough or sauces. The beautiful Italian region of Piedmont specializes in lasagna al Sangue, which translates to “bloody lasagne” due to the addition of blood from a slaughtered pig.
1 pound ground beef
5 links mild Italian sausage
1 pound lasagna noodles (about 12)
2 12 oz jars pasta sauce
2 1/2 Tbsp good tomato paste
2 16 oz bags shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 c. grated Romano cheese
2 1/2 c. Ricotta cheese
3 cups spinach
1 beaten egg
1 small onion diced
3 cloves minced garlic
1/4 c. roasted red peppers
1 tsp Italian seasoning
All-purpose seasoning blend to taste
Chopped fresh parsley
Preheat oven to 375°
Cook pasta according to package instructions, rinse, and set aside. (Lay them separately on a cookie sheet
In a heavy saucepan brown the ground beef and Italian sausage (remove from casing and break up with a fork) Mix in onion, red peppers, and garlic. Cook over medium heat until browned well, drain fat off.
Add pasta sauce, tomato paste and season to taste with all-purpose blend. Add Italian seasoning, cover, and simmer on med-low for 30 minutes. (For optimal flavor, cook sauce the day before)
*OPTIONAL I add 1 tsp sugar
While sauce is simmering, in a mixing bowl combine 1 bag of the mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, Romano, and Parmesan with a beaten egg, spinach, and parsley
Add 1 c. meat sauce to the bottom of the baking dish, top with lasagna noodles, spoon on cheese mixture. Repeat. Finish with noodles topped with sauce and remaining mozzarella cheese.
Cover and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and add additional cheese if desired and bake another 10 minutes until lightly golden brown and bubbly.
Allow resting 20 minutes before cutting.
*I did have about a pint of sauce left. Put in the freezer bag for a quick lunch one day!
NUTRITION PER SERVING: Calories 597 / Protein 40 g / Carbohydrate 37 g / Dietary Fiber 4 g / Total Sugars 7 g / Total Fat 32 g / Saturated Fat 14 g / Cholesterol 112 mg / Sodium 1582 mg