This lasagna is rich, decadent and the perfect meal to come home to on a cold autumn evening. The top is crispy and cheesy; the inside sweet and chunky. The hint of cinnamon adds a sweet and aromatic flavor that is to die for. With bright, rustic flavors and as many layers as you can handle, this lasagna is a winner on all fronts!
For the sauce:
2 tbsp salted butter
1 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, smashed
4 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
4 celery stalks, sliced (remove the ends and the leaves)
3 Italian sausages (casing removed, just the ground meat)
2 lbs ground beef
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp garlic salt
3 fresh basil leaves, diced
¾ cup of red wine
1 small can tomato paste
3 cans diced tomatoes
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp heavy cream
2 tbsp salt
2 tbsp black pepper
3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
For the Lasagna:
3 cups fresh baby spinach
1 large container of ricotta cheese (2 quarts)
2 eggs, beaten
1 lb mozzarella cheese, grated
2 packets dried lasagna noodles (2 lbs)
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 basil leaves, diced
½ cup Parmesan for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350˚.
- Add the butter and onions to a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Stir until the onions are just translucent, about 4 minutes.
- Add the garlic, carrots and celery to the pan and cook until half-way tender, about 4 minutes. Do not let the garlic burn.
- Add the sausage meat to the pan and break up with your spoon. Cook for about 1 minute until the sausage is broken up completely and begins to brown.
- Add the ground beef to the pan and break up with your spoon. Cook for about 5 minutes until all of the beef is broken up and is almost cooked through.
- Add the oregano, dried basil, fresh basil, garlic salt and wine to the pan. Stir to combine and cook until the wine has absorbed into the meat, about 4 minutes, stirring continuously.
- Add the tomato paste, canned tomatoes and cinnamon to the pan. Cook for about 4 minutes, stirring continuously, until the tomato juice has been absorbed, and the tomato paste coats all of the meat.
- Turn the heat to medium-low and add the cream, Parmesan, salt and pepper. Stir to combine and allow to slowly simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, boil the lasagna noodles according to their package instructions (about 10 mins) until tender but still firm; then drain and set aside. Do not over boil.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs and Parmesan with the ricotta cheese.
- Coat a baking pan (13in by 9in) with olive oil.
- Arrange 4 noodles (depending on your noodle size) across the pan lengthwise, overlapping them slightly. Add 1 noodle on each end going the opposite direction, to form a solid base.
- Spread half of the ricotta/Parmesan/egg mixture over the first layer of noodles.
- Spread about 2 cups (or enough to cover the whole pan) of the meat sauce on top of the ricotta.
- Top with ½ of the mozzarella.
- Top with 1 cup of fresh spinach leaves.
- Add another layer of the meat sauce.
- Top with another layer of noodles, overlapping them slightly again.
- Repeat this process again (Ricotta layer, meat layer, mozzarella layer, spinach layer, meat layer.
- Top the whole lasagna with the final layer of noodles.
- Spoon a ladle of sauce over the noodles so they are just covered and moist.
- Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and another ½ cup of Parmesan over the top of the lasagna. Sprinkle on the fresh basil leaves.
- Tap the top of the lasagna and the sides of the pans to settle the meat and get rid of air.
- Bake for about 1 hour until the top is crispy and brown.
- Let rest for about 20 minutes and it will be easier to cut.