Mom's Lasagna Made Easy
...and a bit healthier. My fabulous mom [gladly] gave up cooking when I took over the kitchen. I was more than happy to do all the cooking, but still craved her weekly rotation of dinners: homemade chicken tenders, breaded steaks, spinach gratin, mashed potatoes, fried plantains, and her lasagna.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 pounds lean ground beef
1 large white onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup 2% milk, warmed
1 package ready-to-bake whole wheat lasagna sheets
8oz fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced or grated
1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the beef, onion and garlic, using a wooden spoon to break down the beef as much as possible. Season with salt, pepper and the red pepper flakes.
2. Add the bay leaf, canned tomato and brown sugar. Season with some more salt and pepper. Simmer 15-20 minutes. Taste for seasoning.
3. In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until smooth, then whisk in the milk. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then down to a simmer, until the white sauce thickens.
4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
5. Ladle some of the meat sauce into the bottom of a rectangular baking dish. Add a layer of lasagna pasta sheets, then top with another layer of meat sauce, and a few tablespoons of the white sauce. Repeat until you run out of meat sauce. Top with a layer of mozzarella cheese.
6. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil, then set the oven to the broil setting. Allow the cheese to brown for a couple of minutes, keeping a close eye on it so it doesn't burn.
7. Remove the lasagna from the oven, and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Serve.