The lasagna recipe that I grew up with was basically layers of meat sauce, cooked lasagna noodles and cottage cheese mixed with an egg and Parmesan cheese, and Mozzarella cheese. It was very similar to the one I normally use from the red Better Homes & Garden Cookbook. A while ago I tried a version made with ricotta cheese instead of cottage cheese and we weren’t terribly impressed with it. Today I’m going to try combining the two! Here’s my main inspiration recipe – Traditional Lasagna from Taste of Home. I like the idea of adding sausage to the sauce, and including Provolone cheese in the layering. However, I don’t have any Provolone and I’m not going to the store, so I’m leaving that out. I’m also not using full-fat cottage cheese. I still think it will be delicious! [Note: it was, and the no cooking tip below worked quite well for the noodles.]

Traditional Lasagna

1 pound ground beef (or wheat/meat)
1/2 pound sausage
1/2 cup onion, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce
2 cans (6 ounces each) tomato paste
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon dried parsley (or 3 tablespoons fresh)
1 1/2 cups cottage cheese
1 carton (8 ounces) ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
11 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained* (about 1/2 pound)
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook and crumble beef and sausage until no longer pink; drain. Add onion and garlic and cook a bit. Then add tomato sauce, tomato paste, [I use about 1/4 cup water to rinse out the cans and add that to the pot as well.], sugar, Italian seasoning and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper, if desired.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, lightly beat eggs. Add parsley; stir in cottage cheese, ricotta and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.

Preheat oven to 375°. Spread 1 cup meat sauce in an ungreased 13×9-in. baking dish. Layer with three noodles, provolone cheese (if using), 1/2 the cottage cheese mixture, 1 cup mozzarella, three noodles, 2 cups meat sauce, remaining cottage cheese mixture and 1 cup mozzarella. Top with remaining noodles, meat sauce and mozzarella (dish will be full).

Cover; bake 40 – 50 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle on remaining Parmesan cheese and bake until heated through, about 10 more minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting.

*I’m also going to try a trick I saw over here which is pouring hot water over the noodles, which have been placed in a 9×13″ pan, letting them sit for 30 minutes, then draining and proceeding with assembly. I’m not sure they’ll be any easier to work with than slippery, cooked noodles, but we’ll see.