We are definitely craving comfort food this time of year as the weather gets colder! Growing up, I was fond of my mother’s home cooked meals such as lasagna, sweet and sour meatballs, and shepherds pie.
Over the years, I have perfected my secret lasagna recipe and it seems to be a fan favourite among family and friends. I am sure my mom will call me shortly after I post this asking if this is her recipe. Perhaps, the basis of it comes from learning, tasting and seeing how she made it when we were growing up, but I have definitely added a few sweet gems.
Our classic lasagna recipe has homemade tomato meat sauce that is savoury with hints of sweetness. The sweetness comes from my two secret ingredients, cinnamon and honey. Yes, cinnamon and honey! Most people raise an eyebrow when I mention these two ingredients, but if you haven’t already noticed from my other blog posts is that I love to experiment with recipes and ingredients.
We can’t forget about the most important ingredient – cheese! We use 4 different cheeses to give it the richness in flavour and balance the sweetness from the tomato meat sauce.
Regardless, this mouthwatering dish pairs perfectly with a more full-bodied red wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah! In addition, any of our cabernet blends would pair nicely with our classic lasagna recipe.
Dark in colour, Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most important of the black grapes. Widely planted, this grape variety tends to be medium to full-bodied wine with fruit aromas associated with dark fruit such as black cheery, blackberry, and blackcurrant. Other pleasing aromas include, bell peppers, mint and eucalyptus.
While Syrah, known as the black grape, is a full-bodied red wine with fruit aromas associated with blueberry and plum. Other pleasing aromas include, milk chocolate, tobacco and green peppercorn. This wine tends to taste sweeter to the palate making it complementary to the sweet hints of honey and cinnamon in our classic meat lasagna. Either way, both of these popular red wines pair nicely with this recipe.
Classic Meat Lasagna
Tomato Meat Sauce:
1 pound of extra lean ground beef
2 cans of tomato sauce
1 can of tomato paste
¼ cup of red wine
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
1 tablespoon of honey
½ tablespoon of dried chili peppers
1 teaspoon of dried oregano, or to taste
1 teaspoon of dried basil, or to taste
2 minced garlic cloves
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
1 medium Spanish onion
12 lasagna noodles
½ cup of Ricotta cheese
½ cup of cottage cheese
1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup of shredded old orange cheddar
For the meat sauce:
Add extra virgin olive oil and minced garlic to skillet. Sauté for 2 minutes on low heat.
Add diced onion and Sauté until soft.
Add ground beef and cook on medium heat until no longer pink. Drain excess grease.
Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, honey, cinnamon, red wine, dried chili peppers, dried oregano, and dried basil.
Simmer for 10 minutes while lasagna noodles are cooking
On high heat, bring a large pot of water to boil
Cook pasta uncovered until cooked
Drain pasta and set aside
Mix cottage cheese and Ricotta cheese together
In a 9x13-inch baking pan add a layer the bottom of the pan with four cooked noodles, then add a layer of meat sauce, add another layer of noodles, add another layer of meat sauce and cottage and ricotta cheese mixture, add the final layer of noodles (you may have a few extra), and sprinkle the top with shredded mozzarella and old orange cheddar cheese.
Cover the dish with aluminum foil.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Bake for roughly 30 minutes until lasagna is bubbling and cheese is melted
Remove foil and bake roughly 10 minutes until cheese is brown
Allow to cool, and serve with your favourite glass of red wine!