1 tbsp evoo
1 medium onion, minced
6 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 tbsp)
1 pound meat loaf mix made up of 1/3 lb each - ground veal, ground pork and 80% lean ground beef
1/2 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream 35%
1 (28 ounce) can tomato purée (passata is tomato purée - often sold in jars)
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained - I use Aylmer
Cheese Filling and Pasta:
1 3/4 cups whole milk or part-skim ricotta cheese
2 1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated, about 1 1/4 cups
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp table salt and ground black pepper
12 no boil lasagna noodles
16 ounces whole milk mozzarella cheese, shredded, about 4 cups
1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375ºF.
2. For the sauce: Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the meatloaf mix, salt and pepper; cook, breaking the meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon, about 4 minutes. Add the cream and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid evaporates and only rendered fat remains, about 4 minutes. Add the tomato purée and diced tomatoes and bring to a simmer; reduce the heat to low and simmer about 3 minutes more. Set aside. (The cooled sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days; reheat before assembling the lasagna.)
3. For the cheese filling: Combine the ricotta, 1 cup of Parmesan, the basil, egg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
4. Spread the bottom of a 13 x 9 inch baking dish evenly with 1/2 cup of meat sauce. Place 3 noodles in a single layer on top of sauce. Spread each noodle evenly with 3 tbsp of ricotta mixture (easier to spread mixture on noodles first and then place in baking dish). Sprinkle entire layer evenly with 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Spread the cheese evenly with 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce. Repeat the layering of noodles, ricotta, mozzarella and sauce two more times. Place remaining 3 noodles on top of sauce, spread evenly with the remaining sauce, sprinkle with remaining mozzarella, then sprinkle with remaining Parmesan. Spray a large sheet of foil with vegetable oil spray and cover the lasagna, sprayed side down.
5. Bake 15 minutes, then remove the foil. Continue to bake until cheese is spotty brown and sauce is bubbling, about 25 minutes longer. Remove from oven, let rest 10 minutes; cut into pieces and serve.