Here is a recipe for lasagna at its simplest. Modify it to your own taste by adding any extra ingredients you like to the sauce. Serves six to eight people. You can also substitute the different cheeses for other kinds that you like more to change the flavor of the lasagna.
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Things you need
- Several large basil leaves
- 1/3 - 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove cut in half
- 1 can (12-16 oz.) tomato sauce
- 1 (16-oz.) box lasagna noodles
- 8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
- 8 oz. grated Parmesan cheese
- 8 to 12 oz. ricotta cheese
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Crush basil leaves by breaking or tearing them with your fingers. Set aside.
Warm extra-virgin olive oil in a saucepan, and add one garlic clove cut in half. Allow clove to sizzle for three to four minutes without letting it get too brown. Remove the garlic.
Add tomato sauce to the hot oil and stir. Add crushed basil leaves.
Put on very low heat, cover and allow to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
As the tomato sauce simmers, fill a large pasta pot with 4 to 5 quarts water and a large pinch of salt. Bring to a boil.
Carefully place lasagna noodles in the boiling water and stir occasionally to ensure noodles do not stick together. Cook until al dente (slightly chewy).
Drain the noodles, but don't rinse them.
Generously oil the bottom of your 10-by-18-inch baking dish.
Cover the bottom of the pan with lasagna noodles.
Spread sauce over noodles with a spoon and top with a little of each cheese.
Repeat layers until pan is full, saving most of the cheese for the top.
Top with remaining sauce and cheese.
Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. (You may need to cover the lasagna for the first 10 minutes to melt the cheese, then uncover it for the last 10 minutes to brown it.)
Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Tips and warnings
- Lasagna is a flexible dish: Try adding a pound of cooked veal, chicken, ground pork or ground beef to the sauce.
- Make vegetarian lasagna by chopping leftover vegetables and adding them to the sauce.
- Add or subtract cheeses to taste. You can even use cottage cheese or cheddar cheese.
- Garnish lasagna with finely chopped Italian parsley. (Italian parsley has flat leaves, rather than curly ones, and has a stronger flavor than regular parsley.)
- The cheese may burn if the lasagna is baked uncovered for longer than 10 minutes.