Cheese Lovers Lasagna with Pinot Noir
Lasagna is an all day event at my house. I begin in the morning preparing the sauce from scratch. No jarred stuff, just a crock pot on low and lots of love. I’ve toyed with the same family recipe for nearly 15 years, varying some ingredients depending on my mood, and the mission to continue toward perfection. This recipe is for cheese lovers and those who love the progressive aroma of slowly developing flavors.
- Prep Time : 30 minutes
- Cook Time : 4h 00 min
- Yield : 12
- ground beef - 1 lb
- sweet onion - 3/4, diced fine
- tomato puree - 15 oz. can
- petite diced tomatoes - 21 oz can
- tomato paste - 4 oz can
- garlic - 6 cloves, minced
- Lawry's seasoned salt - 3 dashes
- water - 6 oz
- basil - 1 tsp dried
- thyme - 2 tsp dried
- rosemary - 2 tsp dried
- pinot noir - 1/3 cup, Publix Premium or Russian River Valley origin
- sharp provolone - 1/2 lb, shredded
- fresh mozzarella - 16 oz, quartered lengthwise and sliced 1/4 inch thick
- parmigiano reggiano - 1/2 lb, shredded
- ricotta - 16 oz
- lasagna noodles - 15, or 1 box
- Fire up your crock pot to high and empty those cans of tomato puree, diced tomatoes, and tomato paste. Stir in herbs and cover while you prep the remaining ingredients.
- Finely dice the sweet onion and minced the garlic. Open your bottle of wine to aerate.
- In a medium saute pan, brown ground beef and 1/4 of diced onion on medium high heat. The key to great ground beef prep is to break it up in the pan and then let it go for at least 5 minutes. Resist the temptation to pick and stir, which creates steam instead of browning. After a few minutes, turn the beef around the pan and break up into small bits. Brown an additional 2-3 minutes, then drain the grease. It's not an exact science.
- By now your crock pot should be heated. Turn to low heat and add the ground beef, remaining onion, garlic, salt, and water. Simmer covered on low four hours. On hour three, taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Add the pinot noir and pour yourself a glass.
- With thirty minutes remaining on the crock pot, bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a large stock pot. Add 1 tbs salt and 15 lasagna noodles. Cook according to package directions, usually 12 minutes stirring once or twice through.
- While the noodles are cooking, shred and slice cheeses. Be sure to use quality cheese, not the pre-shredded versions, which will not deliver the same flavor. Sharp provolone, parmigiano reggiano, and fresh mozzarella are in the specialty section of the grocer. Another side note, I prefer Dream Fields lasagna for the texture.
- Drain noodles and heat oven to bake at 375 degrees.
- Pour another glass of pinot. You're ready to assemble greatness.
- Ladle 1/2 cup sauce and spread evenly into a 9 x 13 baking dish.
- Place three lasagna noodles in a row on top. Spoon ricotta by the Tablespoon over noodles spaced evenly, about six scoops per noodle. Place fresh mozzarella in between. Sprinkle parmigiano reggiano and sharp provolone. Next ladle about 1 cup of sauce over entire dish. Repeat three more times.
- On the last layer of noodles, add only cheese. With practice you should have used all the sauce by this point anyway. Sip some more of that great wine. Cover lasagna dish with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes, then uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes to brown the top. Let cool 15-20 minutes before serving.
- If you're wondering what to do with the parmigiano reggiano rinds, check these wonderful suggestions from our friends at Bay Area Bites. Click Here