Main Dishes

Meatball Lasagna

One of the things I love about lasagna is that there are so many variations of it.  You can add different kinds of meat, or omit the meat and add vegetables. You can vary the cheeses you use or even change up the sauce.  In this recipe, I used a white sauce (béchamel) instead of ricotta along with lots of mozzarella and parmesan. For the meat I decided to add meatball chunks, which I think really compliments all of that luscious cheese. I wanted mainly a white lasagna but with hints of tomato sauce, so I made a red sauce to coat the meatballs with.  All of these ingredients get layered between “no boil” lasagna noodles (yes, I said it… they work perfectly), and the result is just too good for words.  🙂

Ingredients:

Red Sauce:
½ cup onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. parsley
¼ tsp. pepper

Meatballs:
1 lb. 80% lean ground sirloin
1 lb. ground veal
¾ cup fresh bread crumbs
1 egg
¼ cup milk
2 tbsp. grated onion
1 tbsp. parsley
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. salt
2 cloves garlic, minced

White Sauce:
6 tbsp. butter
6 tbsp. flour
4 cups whole milk
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 ¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
½ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. nutmeg

Cheeses:
4 ¼ cups grated mozzarella cheese
½ cup grated parmesan cheese

No boil lasagna noodles

Step 1: Make the red sauce! Sauté ½ cup of onion and garlic in oil over medium heat for a minute or two, until onion is soft. Add the rest of the red sauce ingredients and stir over medium heat for 5 minutes. Then reduce to low, cover, and cook for about 20 minutes longer.  Remove from heat.

Step 2: Make the meatballs!  Combine all of the ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan and transfer the meatball mixture to the hot pan. Cook the meat, breaking it apart into large chunks and stirring it as it begins to brown. These large chunks will be the meatballs!  Cook for approximately 10 minutes, or until most of the pink is gone. Drain the meat, then combine with the red sauce.

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Step 3: Make the white sauce! Melt the butter in a pan, then whisk in the flour and stir for about 2 minutes or until the mixture begins to bubble and has turned a sandy color.

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Slowly pour in milk, whisking constantly. Continue to whisk until the flour mixture has completely dissolved into the milk. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low and add salt, pepper, cheese, garlic powder, and nutmeg. Continue to cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture has thickened. Remove from heat.  (At this point I always give it a taste to check if it needs more salt.)

Step 4: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix the mozzarella cheese and ½ cup parmesan cheese in a bowl.

Step 5: Assemble the lasagna! Spray the bottom of a lasagna pan (I just use an aluminum pan) with cooking spray.  Spread about ¼ cup of white sauce on the bottom. Lay 3 lasagna sheets across. Spread about 1 ½ cups of the meat mixture over the noodles, then about 1 ¼ cups of cheese, then about ½ – ¾ cups of white sauce.  Continue this layering 2 more times.  After you have 3 complete layers, top the third layer with 3 more lasagna noodles, the rest of the white sauce, and the rest of the cheeses.  Spray aluminum foil with baking spray and cover the pan with the foil, spray side down. Bake for 1 hour, then remove foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit for at least 20 minutes before cutting into it.

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I like to garnish the top with fresh parmesan cheese and basil, but that’s up to you.

Enjoy!
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2 thoughts on “Meatball Lasagna”

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