I’m going to tell you right now that this lasagna recipe is fantastic! The original recipe was called Golden Gate Lasagna, and it came from a Good Housekeeping cook book that my mom has. She made quite a few changes to it, including increasing the amount of sauce by 50% and changing the spices to fresh herbs from her garden. I was surprised at how much the fresh herbs improved the flavor of the sauce, and I highly recommend using as many of the different fresh herbs as you can. I realize not everyone has an herb garden and that buying fresh herbs is expensive, so if you need to substitute dried herbs and spices, I have included those amounts in the recipe. Perhaps you could use a couple of the fresh ones and use dried for the rest. I have done that on occasion, although I definitely prefer using all fresh.
Another change my mom made was to replace some of the ground beef with Jimmy Dean HOT sausage. The spices in the hot sausage combine with the herbs so that the sauce comes out perfect. I would say that this recipe is every bit as good as lasagna that you would be served in a nice Italian restaurant.
I promise your family will love it! Mine certainly does!
My son is currently on a two-year mission in Italy. He’s been there for six months, and in a recent e-mail he said, “I still haven’t found any lasagna in Italy that is better than my mom’s!”
Recipe by Good Housekeeping/Adapted by Sara Brooks & Winner Dinners
Serves about 8
3 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup onions, minced
3/4 pound ground beef
3/4 pound Jimmy Dean HOT sausage
2 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
4 large cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1-1/2 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped (or 1 tablespoon dried)
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, finely chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1/2 pound lasagna noodles
1 5-ounce package fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
1 pound mozzarella cheese, grated
1 15-ounce package ricotta cheese
In hot olive oil in skillet, saute the onions. Add the beef and sausage and cook until the red color disappears. Drain fat. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, garlic, spices, and herbs. Simmer covered 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, cook the lasagna according to package instructions less 2 minutes. During assembly, remove one piece at a time from the water and use paper towels to drain and dry them. Leave the rest in the water while working.
Grate the cheeses and reserve 1/2 cup of the Parmesan to put on top of the lasagna. Combine the remaining Parmesan with the mozzarella cheese.
Lightly grease a 9×13 dish with olive oil. Put a scant layer of sauce in the bottom of the dish. Next, add a layer of drained noodles, then 1/3 of the ricotta cheese, followed by 1/3 of the Parmesan/mozzarella cheese mixture. Repeat the noodles and cheeses so that you have three layers. End with the sauce and then sprinkle the reserved 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese on top. Bake at 350 until bubbling around the edges, about 30 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
To make ahead: Prepare the lasagna, except don’t bake it. Place it in the refrigerator until one hour and 10 minutes before serving. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes or until steaming hot. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.