I tend to be leery of recipes that proclaim to be "world's best" because given how diverse the world is, I can't imagine anything being declared the best. However this recipe was very highly rated on allrecipes.com by nearly 3000 reviewers so I figured it was definitely worth a shot.
My Sicilian Grandmother was coming down to visit for the weekend and was getting into town on Friday as well as my parents. I wanted to make something that I knew they would like that would also easily feed 5 adults. I knew it had to be lasagna. I have made baked ziti before and lasagna rolls here and here, but never have I actually made a lasagna.
I served the lasagna alonside a strawberry spinach salad. It was a very delicious meal.
World's Best Lasagna
1 lb sweet Italian Sausage, casings removed and crumbled
3/4 lb lean ground beef
1/2 cup minced onion
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
2 (6 oz) cans tomato paste
2 (6.5 oz) cans tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp white sugar
1 1/2 tsp dried basil leaves
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp coarse ground black pepper
4 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley, divided
18 lasagna noodles
16 oz ricotta cheese
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 lb mozzerella cheese, shredded
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1. In a large stockpot, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel, italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and 2 Tbsp parsley. Simmer, covered for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. The longer you simmer the better the flavor.
2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8-10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse in cold water. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, nutmeg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 tsp salt.
3. Preheat oven to 375F.
4. Layer as follows: Spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in a 9x13 inch baking dish (I used a disposable 9x13 pan since it is deeper and it worked better. I think it would have gone over my glass 9x13 pan). Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with 1/2 of ricotta cheese mixture. Top with 1/3 of mozzerella and sprinkle 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers. Top with last 6 noodles and remaining mozzerella and Parmesan. (Next time I make this, and there WILL be a next time, I will top the top layer of noodles with meat sauce and then the remaining cheeses).
5. Cover with foil sprayed with cooking spray to prevent sticking.
6. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool 15 minutes before serving.
Source: adapted from allrecipes.com