Yield: 8 Servings
Prep Time: 40 min
Cook Time: 40-60 min
If baking immediately preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit
To make the Ricotta Cheese:
Place the Milk in a saucepot over medium heat with a whisk close by. You want to heat it till it starts to steam and froth, stirring occasionally. When it is frothy and steaming, turn off the heat and add the juice of one lemon or 1/4th cup vinegar, stir and then let it sit for 10 minutes.
(If after 5 minutes there are no curds, add another few tablespoons of acid and wait.)
Once all the curds have separated, place cheesecloth or a kitchen towel over a mesh strainer. Pour the milk and curds through the strainer and let it sit and drain for 5 minutes. Once most of the visible liquid has drained off, bring up the corners of the cloth around the cheese and squeeze the cheese to expel extra liquid. Twist the top of the cloth to tightly compress the cheese and let it sit for another 5 minutes.
To make the Red Sauce:
Mince the garlic and saute with the oil in a large Skillet over medium heat about 30 seconds or until fragrant. Try not to let it brown.
As soon as you smell the garlic, add in the ground beef and break it up. Cook over medium heat until the beef is no longer pink.
Add in all three cans of tomato product and stir until mixed in. Then add Salt to taste (start with 2 teaspoons) and the red pepper flakes.
Bring the mixture to a simmer and then hold on very low heat until ready to assemble the lasagna.
Meanwhile, in a dry pan, toast the coriander, black peppercorn and fennel seed until fragrant and slightly brown, about 2 minutes. Grind finely in a spice grinder and add to the red sauce (You may use pre-ground spices and skip the toasting if necessary)
To make the Cheese Mixture:
Finely dice the serrano pepper if using.
In a large bowl, mix the strained ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, eggs, parsley and serrano together. Set aside.
Grate the parmesan and mozzarella cheese, set aside. (I like to do this using the grater attachment on my food processor, it takes about 30 seconds to grate all the cheese)
To assemble the Lasagna:
In a 9×13 baking dish place a layer of the lasagna noodles, then spread half the red sauce on top.
Take ½ the ricotta mixture and scatter small spoonfuls over the red sauce. Spread out as evenly as possible. Don’t worry if it doesn’t cover the whole surface, it will spread while baking.
Scatter half the mozzarella and parmesan cheese over the lasagna.
Repeat all the steps ending with the mozzarella and Parmesan.
Bake at 350 for 35-60 minutes until the lasagna is bubbly around the edges and the cheese is toasty brown.
OR cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days before baking. Enjoy!