Judy’s Lasagna


For a quicker preparation of this recipe by contributing editor Sara Foster’s sister, you can use fresh or “no boil” lasagna noodles that don’t need precooking; replace the items added to the meat sauce in step 2 with store-bought marinara; and instead of the mozzarella and Parmesan, buy shredded Italian-blend cheese (mozzarella, Parmesan, provolone, Romano, fontina, and Asiago)

Makes 12 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 yellow onions, chopped
2 pounds ground chuck
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried marjoram
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 cup red wine
2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil, divided
3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano, divided
1 pound cottage cheese
1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
2 large eggs
8 to 10 hot, cooked lasagna noodles or “no boil” noodles
1 pound thinly sliced or shredded mozzarella (about 2 cups shredded)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnishing

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, and sauté about 5 minutes or until soft and translucent. Add beef, and cook, stirring until it crumbles and is no longer pink. Add sea salt and next 3 ingredients. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 more minutes or until beef is cooked through. Add garlic, and cook 1 more minute.

3. Add balsamic vinegar and wine, and cook about 1 minute or until slightly reduced. Add tomato; reduce heat to low. Cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens. Stir in 1 1/2 tablespoons each fresh basil and oregano.

4. Combine cottage cheese, ricotta, eggs, and remaining fresh herbs in a medium bowl; stir to combine.

5. Spread 2 2/3 cups sauce in bottom of 13- x 9- x 2-inch baking dish. Place half of noodles over sauce, and sprinkle with half of mozzarella. Top with another 2 2/3 cups sauce, noodles, and cottage cheese mixture. Layer remaining mozzarella, 2 2/3 cups sauce, and Parmesan on top. Cover with foil, and bake at 350° for 50 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake 30 more minutes or until cheese browns slightly. Let stand 30 minutes before serving.