I cannot remember the last time I cooked Traditional Lasagna. By traditional, I mean Lasagna in a meat sauce. My family loves the Vegetarian Lasagna I make, but for a change it was lovely to have Lasagna with a meat sauce. I used the yogurt cheese filling similar to the Vegetarian Lasagna, but will do a recap. I also do not cook my pasta sauce for a long time, 40 minutes at the most, 20 minutes lid on and 20 minutes with the lid off on a low simmer. I have found by putting together the lasagna a couple of hours ahead of time, the flavors really develop. Also, I do not cook the noodles, as they will cook beautifully in the oven.
1 lb. extra lean ground beef
1 large onion, diced
1/2 of a diced green pepper
5 minced garlic cloves
1 small finely grated carrot
28 oz. can of whole tomatoes, chopped
a 5 1/2 oz. can of tomato paste
salt and pepper
1 Bay leaf
2 tsp. ground Oregano, Italian Seasoning
1 tsp. ground Basil
1 cup of yogurt cheese
5 oz. of fresh organic spinach
huge, handful of minced Flat Leaf Italian Parsley
salt and pepper
1 Box of Tinkyada Lasagna Noodles
Heat a dutch oven or pan on medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil. Add in the diced onion, green pepper, grated carrot and minced garlic, sauteing to sweat out. About 10 minutes. Move the vegetables to the edges of the pan, and add in the ground beef to brown, about another 10 minutes. Add in the seasonings, tomatoes with juice, and the tomato paste, stirring well. Cover with a lid, turn the heat down to a low simmer, lid on for 20 minutes. Remove the lid after 20 minutes, adjust for seasonings, stirring occasionally for another 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, lightly steam the spinach, drain, and when cool enough to handle, squeeze out any excess moisture. Add to a bowl, with the yogurt cheese, Italian Flat Leaf Parsley, salt and pepper, and a generous amount of Parmesan cheese, mixing well. The mixture should be on the thick side.
Remove the pasta sauce from the heat, allow to cool for a few minutes, and remove the Bay leaf.
Spread a layer of sauce on the bottom of a Lasagna Pan or 9x13 inch rectangular pan. Then a layer of lasagna noodles, and top with a generous layer of pasta sauce. Another layer of lasagna noodles, then add the yogurt spinach mixture, I dollop it on, then spread with a spatula. Add another layer of sauce on top, then and good sprinkling of Parmesan Cheese. Add the last layer of lasagna noodles, spreading the rest of the pasta sauce over them, sprinkle a generous amount of Cheddar cheese on top, and another sprinkling of Parmesan Cheese. I covered the pan with tin foil, and refrigerated about 1 1/2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and bake the lasagna for about 40 minutes (covered in foil) until the noodles are cooked through.
Allow to sit about 10 minutes before slicing.