This is an authentic lasagna recipe from my neighbor who was from Italy. It doesn’t have ricotta cheese, and I don’t care what you think damnit, it’s authentic because it was from my italian neighbor. It’s filling consists of ground beef flavored with green peppers, onions and celery, giving it alot of depth. She made her own pasta, her own sauces, her own wine, and every Easter she gave us a loaf of homemade bread, and a basket of homemade chocolates and cookies. She taught my mother and I how to make lasagna. I remember seeing her walk around her yard anxiously like an expectant father in a hospital waiting room, waiting to see the results on our first attempt at this lasagna as the aroma of the ingredients drifted from our kitchen window into our backyard, to her backyard. We called her over to our kitchen as we pulled the little guy out of the oven. It was a success, she exclaimed! We all hugged and cried. Okay, we didn’t hug and cry. But because of her our family branched out and tried new things other than daily cantonese cooking. We were in a new world where pizza and spaghetti and lasagna and garlic bread existed. It was wonderful.
Lasagna (serves 8-10)
- 1 green pepper, finely diced
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 1 cup celery, finely diced
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 2 cloves crush garlic
- 1 pound of ground beef
- 6 oz. tomato paste
- 16 oz. mozzerella cheese, sliced thin squares/circles
- 15 cooked lasagna noodles
- 13 x 9 x 2 baking dish
- 1/3 cup spaghetti sauce
This recipe makes 3 layers of noodles with 2 layers of meat/cheese and serves 8-12.
1. On medium high, melt 1 Tbsp butter into skillet.
Add peppers, onions and celery. Cook until onions are translucent.
Add ground beef, salt and pepper to taste.
Add one 6 oz. can of tomato paste, mix well.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In the 13 x 9 x 2 baking pan, ‘grease’ the bottom of the pan with a light coating of spaghetti sauce. Start building layers with 5 strips of noodles (4 across with 1 perpendicular), overlapping the noodles. Spoon half the meat mixture onto noodles, spread evenly. Layer sliced mozzerella covering surface of meat. I add salt and pepper again because I find my cheese (beligioso) isn’t salty enough. If you are using Polly-O mozzerella, you might be okay. Repeat this step again.
Add the last 5 lasagna noodles to cover the top, cover with spaghetti sauce and sprinkle extra cheese if you wish. Cover with foil, bake for 45 minutes.
This is what it should look like when it’s done.
Freeze leftovers in airtight container. Serve with garlic bread in my next recipe.