recipe is an original recipe by GourmetGal as posted at
Margaret's Cook n Chat
Italian Marinara Sauce
Brown one chopped onion and 2 - 3 cloves minced garlic in olive
Add 2 cans crushed tomatoes (20 oz. size), 2 cans (20 oz) puree and one 12 oz
can tomato paste (I use Red Pack brand, but I know it is not readily available
in all areas. Any good Italian brand is acceptable also.)
Opt: About 2+/- cups water to thin sauce (to whatever thickness you prefer)
Add - oregano, basil and parsley. Start with a tsp. of each and adjust according
to your personal tastes. My family doesn't like oregano, so I use only about 1/2
tsp. of that and at least a Tbsp. of parsley and basil - sometimes as much as 3
Tbsps. of basil. If you have FRESH basil, that is much better!!!
Sometimes I add a whole carrot to the sauce for flavor. Be sure to remove it and
discard when ready to serve.
Here is where my recipe may differ from others:
Add a pinch (1/4 tsp.) of baking soda. You will see the sauce bubble. This is
added to take the acid out of the tomatoes! It really works.
Also, I add SUGAR to my sauce. Some like sauce a little sweeter - try starting
out with a tsp. and adjust accordingly. Many Italian cooks add as much as a 1/4
cup, depending on the amount of sauce you are making. I would use about 2 Tbsps.
for this amount. A local Italian restaurant is said to add APPLESAUCE to its
Next step is to add about a 1/4 cup of wine (red, white, whatever you have on
hand is fine!). Then simmer all the ingredients for a few hours.
This is just a tomato (marinara) sauce. If you want to add meat to it, you can
do so. I usually make meatballs in advance - 5
lbs. at a time, bake them and freeze them on cookie sheets and store in Zip Lock
bags and use as many as needed. I sometimes add brascioli (rolled steak), whole
pieces of chicken, porkchops or, a family favorite...wedges (about 1" to 2"
lengths) of pepperoni to my sauce. Adding meat sometimes makes your sauce a
greasy (especially pepperoni), but gives it a different flavor.
To eliminate SOME of the grease, I cut the pepperoni in 1" or 2" pieces and put
them on a glass plate and microwave for a minute or so turning at 30 second
intervals. Then wipe off grease with a paper towel before adding to sauce. The
longer your sauce cooks, the more time the meat will have to absorb the flavor
of the sauce and will taste better! Keep in mind that each meat you add will
make the taste of the sauce a little different.
Home Made Meatballs (Can be doubled, tripled, etc...)
1 lb. ground beef
approximately 1/2 cup +/- Progresso Italian bread crumbs
approximately 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsps basil
1 tsp. parsley
1/2 cup chopped onion (opt.)
Mix well, roll into balls and bake on cookie sheets in 350 oven for about 1/2
hour. Then quick-freeze and store in freezer bags.
I am of Italian descent and have been making sauce (usually at least once a
week) ever since I can remember. I never measure myself, so these amounts are
approximate! Hope you enjoy it!
Now, to make the lasagna:
LASAGNA by GourmetGal
1 lb. ground round
1 lb. Italian sausage
Squeeze sausage out of the casings and brown along with ground beef in skillet.
Drain as much of the grease as possible. Add crumbled meat to sauce to make a
"meat sauce". Simmer on the stove for a
few hours so that the meat has absorbed the flavor of the sauce. (Meatballs and
other whole pieces of meat should not be
added at this point.) After you have made the lasagna itself, you can add the
meatballs, etc. to the sauce. The only reason for doing this is that it makes it
easier to "get at" the ground meat in the sauce when you are assembling the
Mix the following 3 ingredients together:
1 lb. ricotta cheese
about 2 Tbsp. parsley
1 lb. mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 lb. lasagna noodles
1/2 cup - 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cook lasagna noodles as directed on package. Drain, separating noodles.
In bottom of 12 x 9 x 2 pan, place several spoonfuls of sauce. Top with first
layer of lasagna. Spoon half of the ricotta
cheese mixture on top and spread to cover noodles with a layer of the cheese.
(If you like a lot of cheese, you can put it on
heavier, but you will probably need to use twice as much ricotta, egg and
parsley. I prefer not to have a lot of cheese in it.)
Using a large slotted spoon, scoop some of the meat out of the sauce (which has
been simmering for hours...) and sprinkle it evenly over the ricotta layer,
adding only a small amount of sauce with the meat. Sprinkle 1/3 of the shredded
mozzarella cheese on top. Sprinkle grated cheese over that. Top with a
crisscross layer of the lasagna noodles and repeat the process. Top with a third
and final crisscrossed layer of noodles. Cover with a final layer of sauce. At
this point, you can be more liberal with the sauce. Top with remaining
mozzarella. Cover with aluminum foil for first 1/2 hour of baking so that it
doesn't get overdone on top. Bake at 350°F. until bubbly (usually about an
hour). Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
You can slice the mozzarella thinly instead of shredding, and place it evenly
over each layer of lasagna. (That's the way my Mom always did it, but I like to
My Mom warned me not to put too much sauce on the lower layers, since the sauce
on the top layer will "seep down" and it will become too liquidy. My favorite
part is the sauce, and I had a hard time not loading it down with it, but I
listened to her!
The same goes for the ricotta cheese. I had a friend who told me when she makes
her lasagna, the lasagna "falls apart" and slides all over the plate when she
serves it, and doesn't stay in a "square". When she saw how I made it, she
realized that she was using too much cheese (and not adding an egg, which helps