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Lesley@kitchengifts.com

"Life is a combination of magic and pasta."  Fellini

HOMEMADE LASAGNA

lasagna

This is an Americanized version of a GREAT Italian Lasagna recipe.  At first glance it might seem 
overwhelming, but note that you can make the meat sauce ahead of time and then put the lasagna 
together for baking later in the day or even the next day.  The cream sauce topping is the secret to 
the whole thing.  Your family will love it!

For Meat Sauce:

1 large carrot or ten baby carrots finely chopped
2 stalks celery finely chopped
1 small or 1/2 large onion finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 strips bacon, chopped
1 T. butter
5 basil leaves, chopped
1 T. chopped oregano
1 t. salt
1 lb. Ground beef
1 28 oz. Can Tomato puree  (youll use about 3/4 of it)
1/2 cup dry red wine
1-cup beef stock

In a heavy skillet melt butter and cook bacon until almost crisp.  Add carrots, celery, onion 
and garlic.  Cook over medium heat until carrots begin to soften.  Add oregano, basil and salt.  
Cook until all vegetables are soft.  Remove from pan.  Add beef and cook until brown.  
Return vegetable mixture to pan.  Add tomato puree (put leftover sauce in a plastic resealable 
bag and freeze it for a later use), dry red wine and enough beef stock to slightly thin the sauce.  
Cook over low heat for 1/2 hour.  This sauce can be made ahead of time.

For Lasagna:

1 6 oz. Container low fat ricotta cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Meat sauce reserve 1/4 cup for topping
1 pkg. No boil lasagna noodles

Spray 9 x 9 deep baking dish with cooking spray.  Put 1/2-cup sauce in bottom of pan.  
Put layer of lasagna on top.  Spread 1/3 of ricotta and 1/3 of Parmesan on noodles.  Add another 
1/2 cup of meat sauce.  Repeat with noodles then cheese then sauce.  You should have 3 or 4 layers. 

For Topping:

This is what will set your lasagna apart from anyone elses!!

2 T. butter
2 T. flour
2 cups milk

1/2 t. chicken bullion granules
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/2-cup Parmesan cheese
Reserved meat sauce

Melt butter in heavy saucepan.  Add flour and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes stir constantly.  
Add milk and stir until sauce begins to thicken.  Add bullion, nutmeg, cheese and reserved meat sauce.  
Pour mixture on top of prepared lasagna.  You can prepare the lasagna up to this point and then 
refrigerate it until later in the day or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cover lasagna lightly with foil.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Remove foil and 
continue to bake for approximately 15 minutes or until it is bubbly and starting to brown slightly on top.  
Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.  Serve with Caesar Salad.

Variations:
   
Add cooked spinach
    Leave out the ground beef and add grilled vegetables such as eggplant and zucchini
    Use cooked cubed chicken instead of beef
    

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