Why I Love This Recipe
This recipe is based around my spaghetti sauce with meatballs recipe. As with that one, I hope you will tweak it to your own tastes by adding either spicy or sweet Italian sausage. I like the bite of spicy. The spices listed here are approximate. Taste often and add more as needed. Just remember, that although you can add spices all day long, you can never remove them once they are in the sauce so add a little at a time, simmer a short time, taste and add more if desired. Make the recipe your own in the comfort of your kitchen by taking liberties with it. I won't mind in the least. It is what I would do if this recipe was posted by you. Note: The meatballs will feel dry due to the breadcrumbs while mixing. It will take some effort to mix, but do not add egg to the mix. Just keep squeezing the mixture through your fingers until all the cheese and bread crumbs are incorporated into the meat. You will not need the egg to bind them.
Ingredients You'll Need
1 lb lean ground beef
1 lb Italian sausage
1 large onion, diced
8 garlic cloves, minced
2 (15 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
2 (15 ounce) cans tomato sauce
1 (12 ounce) can tomato paste
1 cup red wine
1/2 cup diced sweet red peppers
1 large bay leaf
2 tablespoons crushed basil
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup chopped spinach leaves (optional)
2 cups sliced mushrooms (optional)
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 lb mozzarella cheese, shredded
3 cups low fat cottage cheese
Combine ground beef, Italian sausage (bulk or casings removed and crumbled), onions and garlic in a large dutch oven or large pot; saute until veggies are tender and meat is browned; drain any fat left in the pan.
Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and tomato paste to the meat mixture.
Stir in the wine, diced bell pepper, bay leaf, basil, oregano and brown sugar.
Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally; turn heat down to a simmer and cover.
Simmer 3 to 5 hours, stirring occasionally.
Taste often and add more spices to taste if needed, simmering after each addition before tasting again.
Add the spinach, sliced mushrooms and red pepper flakes 1 hour before serving if desired.
In the meantime, cook lasagna noodles according to the package instructions.
Layer in this order in your lasagna pan: a thin layer of meat sauce, a layer of noodles, another thicker layer of meat sauce, a cup of cottage cheese, sprinkle on a thin layer of mozzarella, dust with 1/3 of the Parmesan cheese and begin the next layer starting with the noodles; repeat until all sauce, noodles, and cheeses are used ending with noodles, an even layer of mozzarella cheese, dusted with Parmesan.
Bake in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven until cheese is melted and spotted with browned areas, about 30 to 45 minutes.
Allow lasagna to set for 10 to 15 minutes before cutting.