So a couple of weeks back I made lasagna for the first time ever. I had been avoiding it because it made me think of pizzeria ristorante generic strip mall Italian food. Like I said in my Southwest Lasagna post, I’m a snob, I’ll freely admit that… That’s what happens when you work in three and four star restaurants for almost half of your life! But slowly I’m trying to get over myself, so to speak, and reacquaint myself with things I loved as a kid: lasagna, baked ziti, mac ‘n cheese, casseroles, meatloaf, etcetera (I think that’s the first time I’ve ever actually spelled that word out, lol). Well I think I opened Pandora’s box, because ever since that Southwest Lasagna I’ve been craving more! When my wife came home from the store with a couple of pounds of ground beef my first thought was to make another lasagna, but I didn’t want to repeat the Southwest, and I didn’t want to do just a regular old lasagna, I wanted to have fun with it. So what to do? Well, after bouncing a few ideas around in the ‘ole noggin I decided to do a play on a Philly Cheesesteak… and it was delicious!
I know there are different sized lasagna pans, for this recipe I used a 9.5 x 14″ pan that’s about 4″ deep. If you’re using a different size you’ll have to adjust your ingredient portions accordingly.
1tbsp Olive Oil
2lb Ground Beef
8oz Mushrooms, sliced
2c Green Bell Pepper, chopped
1c Spanish Onion, chopped
15oz Cheese Dip (I used Tostitos Smooth & Cheesy Dip)
2tsp Salt, (1) 1tsp portions and (2) 1/2tsp portion
2tsp Ground Black Pepper, (1) 1tsp portions and (2) 1/2tsp portion
2tsp Garlic Powder, (1) 1tsp portions and (2) 1/2tsp portion
15 Lasagna Noodles
16oz Ricotta Cheese
1/3c Grated Parmesan
1 Large Egg
16oz Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Heat your oven to 350F.
Heat the olive oil at medium-high heat in a large pot, add the sliced mushrooms and 1/2tsp each of salt, pepper and garlic powder, cook until lightly browned. Add the ground beef, as well as 1tsp each of salt, pepper and garlic powder, cook until lightly browned. Reduce the heat to medium and add the chopped onion, bell pepper and cheese dip, simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool at room temperature.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook off your lasagna noodles in three separate batches of five noodles. Cook them for 3 minutes less than instructed on the packaging. Lay the cooked noodles out on foil or wax paper to keep their shape and so they don’t stick to one another while you are finishing the batches.
In a large bowl combine you ricotta, grated parmesan and egg with 1/2tsp each of salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Layer half of your meat mixture evenly in the bottom of the lasagna pan. Top the meat mixture with five noodles, four horizontal and one vertical along the bare edge (you’ll have to cut off about 3″ from the end of the vertical noodle to match the width of the pan if you’re using the same dish as me). Spread 1/3 of your ricotta mixture evenly over the noodles. Spread 1/2 of your remaining meat mixture over the ricotta, top evenly with 4oz of shredded cheddar, then top with another layer of noodles. Once again spread 1/3 of your ricotta mixture evenly over the noodles. Spread the remainder of your meat mixture over the ricotta, top evenly with 4oz of shredded cheddar, then top with a final layer of noodles. Spread the remainder of your ricotta over the top layer of noodles, then evenly top the ricotta with the final 8oz of shredded cheddar cheese.
Cover the pan with aluminum foil… The foil shouldn’t be touching the top layer if you’re using the right dish, but if for some reason it is spray the bottom of the foil with baking spray to stop the cheese from sticking. Bake the lasagna in the oven for 30 minutes covered at 350F, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 40-45 minutes at 350F, or until the top layer of cheese is melted and lightly browned along the edges. Remove from the oven and allow to cool at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before cutting and serving.
There you have it, a Philly Cheesesteak Lasagna… Enjoy!