This no-fuss, Italian-American style lasagna is the “best in the world,” according to the proud family of Miller Lake cottager Anita Vandergroot, who sent us her recipe.
1 tbsp vegetable oil (15 ml)
1 1/2 lbs ground beef (750 g)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 can (5.5 oz/156 ml) tomato paste
2 cans (28 oz/796 ml each) diced tomatoes, with juice
1 tsp each dried oregano, dried basil, and salt (5 ml each)
Freshly ground pepper
1 500 g tub cottage cheese
4 cups grated mozzarella (about one 500 g block), divided (1 L)
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan, divided (175 ml)
10-12 oven-ready lasagna noodles
1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley (15 ml)
1. In a large, heavy pot, heat oil over medium high. Brown beef. Using a slotted spoon, transfer meat to a bowl. Reserve about 2 tbsp (30 ml) fat in pot; discard the rest.
2. In same pot, saut. onion and garlic over medium low until soft. Add tomato paste, tomatoes (with juice), herbs, and salt. Return meat to pot, and simmer for 5 minutes. Season to taste with pepper.
3. In a large bowl, mix cottage cheese, 3 1/2 cups (875 ml) of the mozzarella, and 1/2 cup (125 ml) of the Parmesan.
4. Spread 1/4 of the sauce in the bottom of an ungreased slow cooker. Layer 1/3 of the noodles (break as needed to fit), 1/3 of the cottage cheese mixture, and 1/3 of remaining sauce. Repeat twice more. There will be 4 layers of sauce and 3 each of noodles and cheese.
5. Cook on low for 4–6 hours, until noodles are soft. Remove from heat, sprinkle remaining cheese overtop, cover, and let stand for 10–15 minutes. Garnish with parsley just before serving. Serves 6–8.
TIP: Do brown ground beef if a slow-cooker recipe calls for it. If you don’t, the meat can develop a grainy, sandy texture.