Heat the oil in a large pot on high heat. Add the beef and coat it with pepper. Cook through, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the beef from the pot and add in the onions, peppers, 1/2 of the garlic, and herbs. Turn the heat to medium and cook the vegetables until soft. Add in the tomato sauce and paste. Season with salt and pepper and let simmer for 1 hour.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Add the dry lasagna to the boiling water and cook until al dente. Remove and place on baking sheet coated with olive oil. Toss the pasta to coat it completely.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a bowl, mix the ricotta and Parmesan well. In a 9 by 12-inch baking dish, begin laying down the pasta. Smooth on a layer of the cheese mixture and spoon on meat sauce. Add another layer of pasta and repeat this process until you reach the top of the dish. The final layer should be cheese mixture and fresh mozzarella.
Cover with foil and place in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and let brown for 15 more minutes.
Cut the rustic bread in half and spread on butter. Add minced garlic, salt and pepper and wrap in foil. Bake until hot throughout. Unwrap the bread but keep it in the foil. Let crisp up and serve.
To serve, spoon on meat sauce on a warm plate. Place a large square of lasagna on the pool of sauce. Top with Parmesan and a basil leaf.
This recipe was provided by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional. It has not been tested for home use.
Copyright 2003, Cat Cora, All Rights Reserved
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