Italian-American Cooking

Part Three: Mom's Lasagna

Make one for tonight, and put another one in the freezer.

By Robb Walsh February 5, 2014

You could feed an entire football team with a pan of my Mom's lasagna. For the meat layer, she used meatballs from the red gravy pot. She mixed these up with ricotta and a spinach mixture. It's a very hearty meal.

I used to think it was crazy to make meatballs and then smash them up—why not just use ground meat? But I don’t ask questions anymore. I just follow Mom’s recipe. "If it ain't broke" and all that... Anyway, it’s wonderful when family recipes get handed down through the generations. My older kids are already asking about grandma's recipes.

Here’s a recipe for one big pan of lasagna. There are around ten noodles in a half-pound package of lasagna noodles. That's enough for three layers of three noodles each. My mom usually buys the one-pound package, which contains 20 noodles and makes two pans of lasagna. She cooks one right away and puts the other one in the freezer for unexpected guests—like me and my kids.

Mom ’s Lasagna

  • 8 ounce box lasagne noodles
  • 18 Mom's meatballs
  • 6 cups Mom's Red Gravy
  • 15 ounce container ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped serrano peppers (optional)
  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons grated parmesan
  • 1 pound mozzarella cut into 18 slices (or one pound grated mozzarella)

Boil and rinse the noodles in cold water. You should have at least nine noodles. Crush the meatballs in a bowl with the sauce that adheres to them. Pour 2 cups of red sauce in the bottom of a 9" x 13" or 9.5" x 13.5" inch baking dish. Arrange three noodles across the bottom of the dish. Spoon half of the meatballs onto the noodles.

Spoon the ricotta into a mixing bowl. Squeeze the spinach to remove as much water as possible. Chop the green onions finely using a little of the green part. Add the spinach to the green onions on the chopping board and chop together mixing well. Add the spinach and green onion mixture to the ricotta. Add one cup parmesan and stir well to combine. Season with salt and pepper and chopped serranos if desired. Spoon half of the ricotta mixture in with the crushed meatballs dotting it evenly around the baking dish. Top the filling with 9 mozzarella slices or grated cheese. Add more sauce and another layer of noodles and repeat ending with a layer of noodles. Top the noodles with some sauce and three tablespoons of parmesan.

Bake in a 350°F oven for half an hour to 45 minutes or until the cheese melts and the lasagna is bubbling. Allow to sit for a least a half an hour before cutting into squares and serving.

Serves 12.

Filed under
Show Comments