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February 3, 2010

Ooey Gooey Meatball Lasagna

For the last two weeks my husband had been craving lasagna. After a snowy and cold weekend, he decided this past Sunday to make a nice large batch of it. The sauce and meatball recipes are adaptations from his mother's recipes. We decided to use meatballs instead of ground beef in the lasagna for extra flavor. It was a GREAT decision! This was delicious. What I love about this is you can easily separate this into portions and freeze for later meals. Lasagna actually freezes and reheats quite well.

2 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
1 15 oz can tomato puree
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow onion
2 tablespoons dried Oregano (or to taste)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 package (about 10+) finely, fresh chopped Basil leaves
1 cup water
Salt and pepper to taste

1 lb. ground beef (a mix of beef, veal, and pork is a better choice)
1 large egg
4 slices of soft bread
2 teaspoons garlic salt
3 tablespoons parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

1 1/2 15oz containers of ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1 box of lasagna noodles
1-1 1/2 pounds shredded mozzarella (depends on how cheesy you like it)
Salt and pepper

In a crock pot set on low, add your onions and let sweat. In a small frying pan, heat up olive oil and lightly brown the garlic. Add garlic, oregano, salt and pepper to onions. Then add the crushed tomatoes and tomato puree and water. Cover and simmer on low heat 4 hours to all day.

For the meatballs, mix all of the ingredients gently in a bowl, being careful not to overwork the meat or they will be tough. Form into meatballs (you should be able to make between 8 to 10) and place in a broiler on low. Broil until just browned on all sides. Remove from the broiler and add to the sauce in the crock pot.

When ready to assemble the lasagna, preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl mix some salt and pepper and 1 egg into the ricotta. Remove the meatballs from the sauce to a bowl and chop them up with a fork. In a deep, glass, rectangular or square baking dish, pour a ladle of sauce on the bottom to cover. Add a layer of dried lasagna noodles overlapping the edges. (Many recipes will have you boil the noodles, but I have made lasagna both ways and not noticed any difference as long as you have plenty of sauce). Spread some of the ricotta over the noodles. Sprinkle some of the meatballs over the ricotta, then top with some shredded mozzarella and a few spoonfuls of sauce. Repeat these layers until the dish is full, making sure to have an extra layer of sauce for the top and top it all with a generous amount of shredded mozzarella.

Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes to 1 hour until bubbly. Remove from the oven and let rest for about 30 minutes to set and cut easily.


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