Everyone loves THEIR grandmother's lasagna. However, my Grandmother's lasagna is truly special and everyone who tastes it, LOVES IT. She learned it from her very Italian friend, Florence, who learned it form her VERY ITALIAN Mother, who did not even speak English. I loved visiting that family and loved absolutely everything they cooked. Part of what makes this lasagna so special is the sauce. Made with love, it is always made with a meat blend, ground pork and ground beef and sometimes a little ground veal, which is harder to find. We simmer it low and slow at our house, with lots of garlic, onion, basil and tomato sauce. Make your own or buy your favorite and fix this for your family. I promise that they will love it!
I have adjusted this recipe to feed a smaller group of 4 - 6. Double it for a bigger group.
1 qt. tomato meat sauce
8 oz. lasagna noodles, cooked al dente
15 oz. part skim ricotta cheese
8 oz. small curd low fat cottage cheese
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. basil
8 - 10 oz. grated part skim mozzarella cheese
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, and cook your noodles "al dente" (about 6 - 7 minutes). While they are cooking, make the cheese filling:
In a big bowl, mix together the ricotta, cottage, and Parmesan cheese. Add in the egg and basil and stir well until combined.
When the noodles are done, drain them well and rinse with cold water. I normally DO NOT rinse my pasta, but this helps to keep them from sticking together and makes them easier to handle.
Spray deep 8.5" X 8.5" baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and ladle about 1/2 cup of sauce in the bottom. Start to build your lasagna, by cutting 3 noodles to fit the bottom. Top them with the cheese mixture. I find it works best to put 3 spoonfuls on each noodle and gently spread them to meet, covering the entire noodle. Add a layer of sauce and a big handful of mozzarella, spreading to cover the entire surface. For the next layer, rotate the direction of the noodles, and repeat the procedure above, a layer of cheese, a layer of sauce, a layer of mozzarella. Do it again. Then finally top your lasagna with noodles, sauce and mozzarella. Cover it carefully with some foil sprayed with the non-stick cooking spray -- you don't want to loose any cheese by having it stick to the foil!! Place the dish on a cookie sheet, and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Lasagna is done when it is bubbly around the edges and hot all the way through. I had a little leftover noodles, sauce and cheese mixture, so I made this cute little single serving to freeze for later or to give away. It only has 2 layers, but it's still a hefty serving!