This last week after I made Korean pajeon I was kind of in a funk about what to cook this coming week for my readers and youtube subbies! I was talking to my brother on the phone about it and he finally said to me, “Hey! why don’t you make a lasagna?” I gave it some thought and decided to do it! I LOVE lasagna! Who doesn’t? So the next thing I thought about was what kind of lasagna did I want to make? I mean I could have just made a run of the mill meat sauce and cheese lasagna recipe but I thought to myself “Nah!”
If I was going my make a lasagna I would at least want to make a lasagna recipe that was a bit more than just your plain meat sauce and cheese lasagna. There was no way I was going to make a lasagna recipe using cottage cheese! To me that just is not a lasagna in the true sense! If I was going to make a lasagna it was going to be with 100% whole milk ricotta the way Mama used to make it! It was going to have whole milk Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses and be delicious!
So I decided to make a beef and spinach lasagna recipe with a homemade sauce and lots of good stuff in it. Now I know that everyone out there probably has their favorite lasagna from a home lasagna recipe or a favorite restaurant they go to but I am only offering this beef and spinach lasagna recipe as a simple and EZ lasagna that anyone can make at home. I am not going to say that this is the “worlds best lasagna!” Everyone else has done that one to death! My lasagna is just a rib sticking ooey, gooey, cheesy and flavorful lasagna! The best part of this or any lasagna is that the appeal to making one is that the ingredients used in the lasagna recipe are totally basic ingredients that you can get in any market in Anywhereville U.S.A!
You don’t need to go hunting for fresh organic basil leaves or some kind of fancy schmancy mozzarella that some people call “buffalo.” You don’t need to go to an Italian grocer for handmade sausage from Italy or buy a chunk of Grana Padana! This lasagna recipe can be made in your home anytime and it is one of the easiest comfort foods around! I have made many lasagna’s in my life for all kinds of people and all kinds of events and not matter what type of lasagna I make the look on the faces of the people that eat is tells me all that I need to know! They love it! So lets make a beef and spinach lasagna! Enjoy the video!
2 Lbs ground beef. 80/20 is good. I used 93/7. Really lean and tasty.
1 Bag 10oz or bigger of baby spinach.
1/2 Brown onion finely diced.
1 Package lasagna noodles. This will make 3 to 4 layers of 4 noodles.
2-3 Tbsp. of honey to cut acidity in the lasagna sauce.
2 28 oz cans tomato sauce.
(I used Pomi Pomodoro Basilico and Pomi chopped tomatoes.)
1 6oz can of tomato paste.
1 14.5 oz can of stewed tomatoes.
1-2 Tbsp. olive oil for tomato sauce.
1 Tbsp. olive to saute garlic and onions.
2 beaten eggs.
2 Tbsp. dried oregano.
2 Tbsp. dried basil.
4-6 minced cloves of garlic for sauce.
2 Tbsp. White wine vinegar.
4 cloves minced garlic for ricotta cheese mixture.
1 Tbsp. Chili flakes.
1 to 1 1/2 Lb. whole milk ricotta cheese.
2 Cups Mozzarella shreds for ricotta cheese filling mixture.
2 Cups+ More mozzarella cheese to layer on top of ricotta cheese mixture.
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top of ricotta cheese mixture.
2 Tbsp. Italian spice blend to add to ricotta cheese mixture.
Method For Sauce:
The first thing is first! Go ahead and brown up your ground beef in a large skillet until the meat is browned lightly and cooked through. Once done place some paper towels in a large bowl and using a slotted spoon take the beef from the skillet and let the fat drain then put the beef in the bowl with the paper towels to complete draining. Put meat aside and now it is time to make the lasagna sauce!
Now take your 1/2 fine diced onion and fine minced garlic and saute then in your saucepan with some olive oil until they are just starting to get soft and golden brown.
Once the onions and garlic have browned it is time to add your tomato paste. Stir the tomato paste into the garlic and onions to allow the tomato paste to cook a bit and take on the flavors in the saucepan Do this for 1 to 2 minutes.
After the tomato paste has cooked with the onions and garlic a bit add your 2 28oz cans of tomato sauce. I used a box of Pomi Chopped Tomatoes. Cook this for about 3 minutes and then add a 14.4 oz can of stewed tomatoes and mix it in well for a minute or two. I used another carton of Pomi pomodoro basilico sauce. Each of the Pomi sauces is 26.4 oz. All in all we are making 3 quarts of lasagna sauce. Cook this for a minute or two.
Add salt and black pepper to taste and mix it in. Then add your crushed red chili flakes and stir the mixture up for a minute. Now add your dried basil, dried oregano, and your olive oil to the sauce and bring it all to a boil and then down to a simmer. We are going to simmer this lasagna sauce for 30 to 45 minutes to simmer out the majority of water out of it so that we will have a nice thick tasty lasagna sauce for this lasagna recipe! After the sauce simmers for about 25 minutes add your 2 Tbsp. of honey and 1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar and stir it in well and keep on simmering the sauce. While the lasagna sauce is simmer we are now going to move on to making our ricotta cheese mixture.
Method For Ricotta Cheese Mixture:
Take 1 1/2 Lbs of whole milk ricotta cheese at room temperature and put it in a large mixing bowl . Now to that add your 2 beaten eggs, 2 cups of mozzarella cheese, 1/2 to 3/4 cup parmigiano cheese and mix this cheese filling together well. Now add 4 cloves finely minced garlic, 2 Tbsp. Italian spice mix, salt and pepper to taste and mix it all up well. Then place in refrigerator to chill for a while to make it easier to handle when spooning onto the lasagna noodles. Now while the cheese filling chills out in the fridge it’s time to make the lasagna noodles. Let’s have at it!
OK! Now it’s time to cook your lasagna noodles according to the directions on the box. Make sure the water is well salted for flavor and that the water stays at a full boil when cooking the noodles to keep them from sticking together. Once the noodles are cooked put them in a water filled pan to stop the cooking process and also to keep them from drying out.