Lasagna for Two

This is truly awesome lasagna, only little.

I’ve been making this lasagna for over 15 years and there’s a reason for it. It’s so dang delicious. I usually make it around the holidays when we host dinner parties because our guests usually request it (yes, it’s that good). I love make-ahead dinners for hosting and lasagna is a great dinner to make before your guests arrive and then just pop it in the oven when you’re ready to cook it. No messy prep work with guests in the house.

I’ve wanted to share the lasagna recipe with you for years, but whenever I make it I’m also hosting something. That means there is no time to take pictures. I’ve thought about making it just for me and my husband on a random weekend but while it’s good eats, the normal sized one is big enough for a bunch of people. That means it’s not exactly an easy task for two people to plow through the whole thing before you’re tired of it. So I solved the problem by making a smaller version of the lasagna in a loaf pan. This time it’s designed for just the two of us.

The original recipe is called the “World’s Best Lasagna.” I have to admit that when I first saw the name years ago I thought it was a bit dramatic (and probably wrong, or at least too full of itself). Nothing could be delicious enough to deserve that name. It probably doesn’t help that I have very high standards when it comes to Italian food because I am half Italian and had a grandma that was an uh-mazing cook, especially her lasagna. To be quite frank (and partial) she made the world’s best lasagna but sadly, I never got her recipe before she passed away. Without that recipe available, this lasagna is the next best thing and even my dad agrees (and he’s a tougher critic than me).

This lasagna has the right proportion of meat to cheese to pasta. The meat sauce is super flavorful. It looks beautiful. Yup, it’s lasagna magic. Only smaller.

My mom and sisters think that it’s too much effort to make a lasagna in a loaf pan. I beg to differ. The process is the same regardless of what size pan you use and it’s really only the amount of ingredients that change, so in that respect they were right. But remember when I said two people would have trouble plowing through that much lasagna?

I was thrilled that I got to enjoy my lasagna and it wasn’t even a holiday with guests, and I didn’t have a crap ton of leftovers. We actually did have leftovers as it was. You can easily get 3 or 4 pieces from the smaller version if you serve it with salad and bread (sourdough or Italian), which is exactly what my husband and I did.

I still hope one day to share the normal size version recipe with you because I want a record of it for me to use in the future since that’s the recipe I make most of the time. Until then, if you are interested, see the source below which is the exact one that I make in a 9×13 pan. And if you’re looking to make a smaller version then I’ve got you covered for that too. 🙂

Lasagna for Two Recipe
(Makes big 2 servings)

Ingredients for the Meat Sauce:

  • 1/3 pound sweet Italian sausage, with the casings removed
  • 1/4 pound ground beef
  • 3 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes (equivalent to 9 ounces)
  • 3 and 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste (equivalent to 4 ounce)
  • 1/2 cup plus 1/8 cup tomato sauce (equivalent to 5 ounces)
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Ingredients for the Pasta and Other:

  • 6 lasagna noodles
  • about 1/4 pound mozzarella cheese, chopped or sliced
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Ingredients for the Ricotta Mixture:

  • 2/3 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions for the Meat Sauce:

  1. In a saucepan, over Medium heat, add the sausage, ground beef, chopped onion, and crushed garlic, and cook it until the meat is cooked through. Make sure to break up the sausage and beef as it cooks to get small chunks of meat.
  2. Add in the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water and stir everything together.
  3. Season with the sugar, dried basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, dried parsley, salt and pepper, and stir again. Simmer, covered for about 90 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Once it’s done, remove the saucepan from the heat.

Directions for the Pasta:

  1. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. (I like to add a teaspoon of oil to the pot of water because I think that it helps keep the lasagna noodles from sticking together after you’ve drained it. This is not required so I did not include it in the list of ingredients.)
  2. Once it’s done cooking, drain the pasta.

Directions for the Ricotta Mixture:

  1. In a small bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, dried parsley, and salt. Then set this aside.

Directions for Building and Cooking the Lasagna:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a 9 x 4 inch loaf pan, place about 1/2 cup of the meat sauce on the bottom of the pan.
  3. Arrange 2 noodles lengthwise over the meat sauce. You will need to cut the noodles to fit into the pan. (My husband eats the ends with the leftover sauce. 🙂 )
  4. Spread half of the ricotta mixture evenly on top of the noodles.
  5. Top the ricotta mixture with a 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese chunks.
  6. Spoon about a heaping 1/2 cup of meat sauce over the mozzarella.
  7. Sprinkle a 1/3 of the grated Parmesan cheese on top.
  8. Arrange the next 2 noodles lengthwise over the meat sauce.
  9. Spread the remaining half of the ricotta mixture evenly on top of the noodles.
  10. Top the ricotta mixture with a 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese chunks.
  11. Spoon about a heaping 1/2 cup of meat sauce over the mozzarella.
  12. Sprinkle a 1/3 of the grated Parmesan cheese on top.
  13. Arrange the last 2 noodles lengthwise over the meat sauce.
  14. Spoon about a heaping 1/2 cup of meat sauce over the noodles.
  15. Sprinkle a remaining 1/3 of the grated Parmesan cheese on top.
  16. Cover the pan with tin foil and bake it in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Then remove the tin foil and bake it for another 25 minutes.
  17. Let it cool for about 15 minutes before cutting into it.

Adapted from: All Recipes

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