12 dried lasagna noodles 8 ounces ground beef 8 ounces bulk Italian sausage or bulk pork sausage* 1 cup chopped onion 2 cloves garlic, minced One 14-1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained One 8-ounce can tomato sauce 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning, crushed 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper 1 egg, lightly beaten One 15-ounce carton ricotta cheese or 2 cups cottage cheese, drained 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1 recipe Bechamel Sauce (below) 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 ounces) Grated Parmesan cheese (optional) Snipped fresh basil (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions; drain. Rinse with cold water; drain again. Place 3 of the cooked lasagna noodles in a single layer on a sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap; top with another sheet of plastic wrap and 3 more of the lasagna noodles. Repeat to layer all of the lasagna noodles; set aside.
- For meat sauce, in a large skillet cook beef, sausage, onion, and garlic over medium-high heat until meat is brown, breaking up meat as it cooks. Drain off fat. Stir in tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, fennel seeds, and pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- For filling, in a medium bowl combine egg, ricotta cheese, and the 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese; set aside.
- Spread about 1/4 cup of the meat sauce in the bottom of an ungreased 3-quart rectangular baking dish (this keeps the noodles from sticking to the baking dish). Arrange three of the cooked noodles lengthwise over sauce in dish. Spread with one-fourth of the filling. Spoon one-fourth of the Bechamel Sauce over the filling. Top with one-fourth of the remaining meat sauce and one-fourth of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers three more times, starting with noodles and ending with mozzarella cheese (make sure the top layer of noodles is evenly covered with sauce). If desired, sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese.
- Bake, uncovered, for 30 to 35 minutes or until hot in the center (160 degrees F). Let stand 15 minutes before serving. If desired, garnish with basil.
Bechamel Sauce Ingredients 3 cloves garlic, minced 2 tablespoons butter 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 2 cups warm milk 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper Instructions In a medium saucepan cook garlic in hot butter over medium heat for 1 minute. Stir in flour until combined. Cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes until golden. Do not let brown. Gradually whisk in warm milk. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 1 minute more. Remove from heat. Stir in Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper.