Lasagna is a food I could eat every night for dinner.
There’s Fancy Lasagna and there’s Midwest Mom Lasagna. Sometimes you want Midwest Mom Lasagna.
Fancy lasagna may involve parboiling noodles, bechamel with a touch of nutmeg, and homemade bolognese.
An online search for authentic Italian lasagna brought me to a recipe involving all of these things plus steps for making my own pasta sheets. “The ONLY lasagna recipe you will ever need!” it boasted. “Yeah, I’m not doing any of those things,” I thought.
Midwest Mom Lasagna might still involve par-boiling noodles, but definitely no bechamel. Most of us grew up eating lasagnas with cottage cheese (or possibly ricotta) layered around hamburger tomato sauce. It’s the stuff that many of us grew-up on. It reminds us of mom. . . or a nice mom who served it.
The other week my Godmother brought over two perfect squares of lasagna packed in tupperware containers. We giddily sat down on our couch and devoured them.
I needed more lasagna. But not just any lasagna, that lasagna.
When I asked her she makes the lasagna, she shared her family recipe (crediting her sister Mary).
The three secret ingredients are Prego sauce, Aldi Italian Style cheese blend, and Borsari seasoning. She made it very clear that if I wanted my lasagna to taste just like hers, we needed to get the Aldi cheese blend. Any Italian cheese blend wouldn’t be the same.
It’s true – there’s something special about the Aldi’s cheese blend – it’s extra zippy.
A relative introduced Borsari seasoning to my folks years ago. The only place I’ve seen it here is Whole Foods (or online). It’s a course seasoned salt they use to season the ground beef. Because of the courseness, I prefer to use it for seasoning things while cooking, rather than a finishing salt.
And the Prego? It adds a familiar sweetness that I personally like.
In the end my lasagna tasted exactly like hers – flipping delicious.
I baked in a deeper 13 X 9 pan. If you have extra sauce you use it to serve the lasagna portions with or dipping bread into. For a less cheesy lasagna you could get away with one bag of cheese, but we like a lot of cheese (and sauce). Add more meat if you want a meatier sauce.
1 pound lean ground beef
(optional): Diced onion or sprinkles of dried onion flakes
Borsari Original Blend, to taste
Two jars of Prego
1 box no-cook lasagna noodles
2 bags Aldi Italian Blend Cheese
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Brown the ground beef in a larger sauce pan. Remove some of the extra fat when it’s nearly finished cooking.
- Add onion or onion flakes and cook.
- Seasoning with black pepper and Borsari seasoned salt to taste.
- Add the jars of Prego sauce and simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Lightly oil inside of baking pan.
- Ladle a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of the pan and spread out.
- Create a layer of the lasagna noodles. You can break the noodles to fit the pan. If some noodles overlap, it’s fine because they are so thin they will cook.
- Spread a layer of what you feel is a reasonable amount of sauce on the lasagna noodles.
- Sprinkle with a layer of cheese.
- Repeat with another layer of lasagna noodles, sauce, and cheese.
- I had four layers of noodles to my lasagna. You could do more or less.
- Top the final layer of noodles with sauce and cheese.
- Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
- Remove the foil and bake for about 15 minutes until the cheese gets golden brown and bubbly.