Epic Lasagna — Meat & Potatoes Meet Homemade Lasagna Noodles!!
Now, before I start telling you about this recipe, let me quickly tell you about the name of this recipe. It all started when I was struggling to heave this massive creation out of the oven. It was massively heavy because I was afeared feeding 4 college guys an average sized lasagna would not fill them up – so, I doubled it and assembled it in a — get ready for this: 16″ x 12″ x 3½” roasting pan. I kid you not, this thing weighed 20 pounds.
As Crawdaddy, one of “our” college guys – as we like to call them ((HI Crawdaddy!!)), watched me struggle to reach, lift, pull, drag & ultimately use “THE FORCE” to remove this sumo-sized lasagna from the oven, he gave the best name to this lasagna.
“Epic! This lasagna is EPIC!!”
I think EPIC is the perfect description of this masterpiece and, even more importantly, I love the word EPIC and way underused this awesome word over the last 41 years of my life. Because of these 2 reasons, I hereby declare this recipe to be named “EPIC Lasagna” from this day forward — or whatever works for you.
I started out by making 4 single batches of pasta dough and allowing them to rest in the fridge for a few hours before rolling them out using my Kitchen Aid pasta roller.
While the dough was doing magical pasta things in the fridge, I uniformly diced up some Yukon Gold potatoes & sweet onions and browned the hamburger & spicy Italian sausage.
Once the meats were browned, I added the potatoes and onions to the braiser – letting them all communicate over low heat for a few minutes, while the veggies softened.
After about 10 minutes of “talking” and stirring, I added my favorite jarred pasta sauce, oil-packed sun dried tomatoes, sweet pickled garlic & a 10 oz. bottle of red wine to the party. Jarred pasta sauce is a real help when making a meat sauce filling for lasagna. It is a simple way to bring deep, slow-cooked flavors to a recipe with very little effort.
The red wine masks the “jarred” flavors and really knocks this whole thing right out of the park. It is like your 4th generation back grandma came over from Italy right into your kitchen and worked her magic. ((REALLY))
In addition to these ingredients, I also like to add a tablespoon or 2 of dried Italian seasoning blend, sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
Once everything is combined, I let the meat sauce simmer on low for 4 to 5 hours ((if I am home and have time)) or until the potatoes are completely softened ((1 hour, stirring occasionlly)).
While the sauce is simmering, it is time to mix up the ricotta herb filling. For this EPIC-sized lasagna, I used 1-32 oz container of whole milk ricotta and one 32 oz container of cottage cheese. You can either use all ricotta or all cottage cheese, depending on what you have on hand.
I like to keep the ricotta filling light and airy, so my rule of thumb when mixing it up is to use ONE egg per 32 oz container of cheese. Any more eggs and this layer becomes real dense ((and almost cake-like)) once baked. Maybe I am weird, but that doesn’t sound good to me — cheese cake?? OH wait. Haha, get it, “CHEESE” cake?
Well, I guess I prefer to leave the cakey cheese to the dessert world.
In addition to the cheese and eggs, I add 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 t fresh cracked pepper, 1 tablespoon of dried Italian seasoning and a few cups of hand-shredded mozzarella.
Once the cheese mixture and the meat & potato sauce are ready, it is time to quickly roll out the lasagna sheets. This, my friends, is my favorite part! These giant noodle sheets are rolled out in no time. I prefer to roll them out to a thickness setting of “4”, as measured by my Kitchen Aid pasta roller attachment.
Why is this my fave?? Because I cut the sheets to fit my pan & I think that is awesome!
I have written out detailed pasta making instructions HERE. Make sure to read this more descriptive set of instructions if you are not familiar with making your own pasta.
Since I was making a triple batch of homemade lasagna sheets, I boiled each sheet for 20 seconds, shocked them in an ice bath until all the sheets were boiled and then assembled this beast.
If you are making smaller version, you could just boil, drain and assemble & skip the ice bath all together.
I always assemble my lasagna in this order ((into a greased dish)):
- meat & potato sauce
- pasta sheets
- ricotta mixture
- shredded cheese
- meat & potato sauce
- repeat until the pan is filled, top off with a final layer of shredded cheese
Bake for 35 to 65 minutes depending on the size of your lasagna. You will know it is finished when it is bubbling everywhere and the top is medium golden brown.
Isn’t this an EPIC looking lasagna??
- 4 batches of homemade pasta, see recipe link in the body of this post
- 1 lb Italian sausage, browned and drained
- 1 lb ground beef, browned and drained
- 5 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, small dice
- 1 medium sweet onion, small dice
- 2 26 oz jars of your favorite pasta sauce (I prefer tomato basil)
- 10 oz Cabernet Sauvignon
- 4 T oil-packed sundried tomatoes
- 6 cloves garlic, sweet pickled garlic, chopped
- 2 T dried Italian seasoning
- sea salt & fresh cracked pepper to taste
- 1-2 c water
- 1 32 oz carton of whole milk ricotta
- 1 32 oz carton of cottage cheese
- 2 eggs
- 1 T Italian seasoning blend
- 1/2 t salt
- 1 t fresh cracked pepper
- 8 oz hand-shredded mozzarella
- 8 oz hand-shredded parmesan cheese
- 24 oz hand-shredded mozzarella
- 16 oz hand-shredded parmesan
- Prepare pasta dough according to recipe instructions (linked in post).
- For the Meat & Potato sauce, in a large, deep skillet, combine all sauce ingredients, season with s & p to taste. Allow the sauce to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes and onions are cooked through. Or, bring the sauce to a simmer, turn the sauce to low flame, and allow the sauce to simmer for 4 to 5 hours, stirring occasionally and adding additional water as needed in order to maintain desired thickness.
- While the sauce is simmering, combine all of the cheese filling ingredients. Stir until well combined and refrigerate until ready to assemble.
- Prepare lasagna sheets (according to pasta making instructions), boil in salted water for 20 seconds, one sheet at a time. After boiling the noodles, shock them in a salted ice bath* until ready to assemble the lasagna.
- Once all of the noodles are cooked, preheat oven to 375°. Spray a 16" x 12" x 3-1/2" roasting pan or two 9" x 13" bakers. Depending on your pan size, pour 1 to 3 c sauce in the bottom, top with lasagna noodles, ricotta cheese mixture (making sure to spread cheese to edges and corners) and sprinkle shredded cheese atop the ricotta cheese layer. Pour another layer of sauce over the shredded cheese and repeat layers finishing with sauce and shredded cheese.
- Place in preheated oven for 35 to 65 minutes (again, depending on pan size) and bake until the lasagna is bubbly and medium golden brown.
- Once cooking is complete, remove from oven, cover with foil and allow the lasagna to rest for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.
- Serves 30!!
- This recipe will make one GIANT lasagna or TWO 9" x 13" pans. Of course, this recipe can be halved if you don't want this much food. But, since one pretty much will take as much time as two, I recommend you assemble 2, bake one and freeze one. Then you have a bonus meal for another day!
- *The salted ice bath should taste like sea water.