Have I mentioned that I love Costco? Recently we bought two and a half pounds of provolone cheese at Costco for sandwiches. Yes, two and a half pounds. And we grew tired of those sandwiches less than a pound in. So what to do with all that cheese? Make lasagna! Most people probably don’t think of provolone as an essential ingredient in lasagna, but it’s one of my favorite cheeses (and that’s saying something) and I think provolone is absolutely necessary in a good lasagna. And I’m very particular. In fact, I’ve been experimenting for a long time trying to get my recipe just right. I’m finally happy with it, so now I can share it with you.
I started making lasagna years ago with the help of The Pioneer Woman. By the way, I love the Pioneer Woman. She gives great step by step instructions and sometimes makes me laugh out loud at my computer screen, which gets me strange looks from both Andy and Zeus. I did change a couple of things about her recipe, using some guidance from Food Wishes and some things I just made up. By the way, trust me on the whole wheat pasta. I worried that it would be too heavy or too dry but it was neither of those things. I actually liked it much better than white pasta and it’s so much better for you. I’ll never go back. Here’s the recipe I ended up with.
For the meat sauce:
- 1.25 lb ground beef
- 1 lb hot sausage
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 29 oz diced tomatoes
- 12 oz tomato paste
- 2 Tbsp oregano
- 2 Tbsp basil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cup water
For the cheese:
- 15 oz ricotta cheese (I used part skim)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 Tbsp dried parsley
- 1 tsp salt
For the rest:
- 8 oz mozzarella cheese cubed or grated or sliced
- 12 slices Provolone cheese
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 box whole wheat lasagna noodles
Make the sauce first. Brown the ground beef and sausage with the garlic in a large sauce pan. Drain about half the grease and then add the tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, oregano, and plenty of salt and pepper. Reduce the heat and let the sauce simmer while you prepare everything else. Add the water gradually as needed to keep the sauce the consistency you like. Taste often.
While the sauce simmers, boil the noodles in salted water. When they are done, drain and rinse them and lay them flat.
Then mix the ricotta cheese, beaten eggs, Parmesan, parsley, and salt together in a small bowl and set aside.
Turn the heat off your sauce and you’re ready to layer. Some people recommend starting with a layer of sauce because it keeps the noodles moist. I start with noodles so you’re not left scraping sauce off the bottom of the pan. They were plenty moist, but if you want to start with a little sauce, feel free–layering has few rules. Lay a third of the noodles on the bottom of a 10 x 15 pan, overlapping the edges slightly. Cover them with a third of the meat sauce. Layer on one half of the ricotta cheese mixture and then top that with half the provolone and a third of the mozzarella. Repeat. Then put on the last layer of noodles, the last of the sauce, and top it off with the last of the mozzarella and the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan. You want to make sure that your last layer of sauce covers the noodles completely, otherwise they will dry out in the oven. Zeus got a few treats because of this.
Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.