Did you know the world’s largest cheese was an American Cheddar out of Wisconsin? True story. Made as a promotional gimmick for the Wisconsin exhibit at the 1964 New York World’s Fair, it measured 6 1/2 feet wide by 5 1/2 feet high by 14 1/2 feet long, and weighed in at a whopping 34,591 pounds. That’s a serious hunk of cheese! Our Wisconsin friends at American Family Insurance are sponsoring this week’s #SundaySupper, and it’s all about the cheese. In the spirit of this cheesy goodness, I’m bringing my Three Cheese Lasagna with Meat Sauce.
Cheese is actually one of the oldest of made foods, dating back to the prehistoric beginnings of herding and likely discovered by accident. Libyan Sahara cave paintings from 5000 BC depict what appears to be cheese making, and Egyptians certainly made cheese, as traces of actual cheese have been found in an Egyptian tomb from around 3000 BC. (Oxford Companion to Food, 1999.) Talk about aged. The world’s love for cheese runs so deep that, in fact, the very first single-subject food book, Summa Lacticiniorum (1477), was devoted to the subject of cheese.
Personally, my love for cheese runs deep too–it’s probably the only food that I couldn’t live without. OK, technically I could, but you know what I mean. Around here, you’ll find some sort of cheese in the fridge on any given day, and it’s often added to recipes to give them that little something extra. Cheese can last in the fridge for weeks (plus it’s OK to trim off any mold before using), so little ever goes to waste. While hard cheeses can usually handle high temperatures, it’s best to stick with lower temps, unless you want your cheese to curdle and separate. Here are some additional tips for buying, storing, and cooking with cheese from the Wisconsin Cheese Board.
In cooking, cheese is rarely the star of the show, and I wanted to prepare a dish where it really shined. This lasagna is loaded with three different kinds of cheese, and the best part is the ricotta blended with a bunch of fresh herbs and garlic, which really makes it pop. The recipe is pretty flexible too, which is nice. This time I used a combination of ground veal with sausage in the meat sauce, to change things up a bit. If swapping out cheeses, for best results I’d recommend sticking with a similar combination of a fresh cheese combined with a semi-soft cheese, and a hard cheese in similar proportions as noted below.
A big hit at the dinner table, not only did everyone go back for seconds, but I couldn’t help but notice they scraped all the burnt bits from the edges of the pan to snack on. That’s some good eating!
Shall we begin?
First, chop the herbs and garlic and stir into the ricotta cheese, along with the egg. Shred the mozzarella cheese, and get everything ready to assemble the lasagna.
Spread enough meat sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking dish to cover the entire bottom (about 1 cup or more).
Arrange a row of uncooked lasagna noodles on top of the sauce. The noodles will expand during baking, so don’t worry if there are some gaps.
Spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture over the lasagna noodles, then sprinkle 1/4 of the mozzarella and 1/4 of the Parmesan cheese on top of that.
Spread another cup or so of meat sauce over that, then repeat the layers two more times.
For the final layer, start another noodle layer, then cover with meat sauce so that the noodles are completely covered. Top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Bake 40-45 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.
Enjoy with a tossed salad, some French bread, wine, and good friends.
Have seconds, you know you want to.
Here’s the printer friendly version:
- Italian Gravy/Meat Sauce
- 1-1 lb package oven ready/no-boil lasagna noodles
- 1 lb ricotta cheese
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1½ tbsp chopped marjoram
- 1½ tbsp chopped oregano
- 2 tsp chopped thyme
- 1 lb low-moisture mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Spread about 1 cup of the meat sauce on the bottom of a 13x9 inch baking dish so that the bottom is completely covered. Use a little more if necessary.
- Top this with two lasagna noodles running the length of the dish. The noodles will expand as they absorb the liquid during cooking, so don't worry if there are gaps on the sides.
- Stir the ricotta, egg, garlic, and herbs in a medium bowl. Spread ⅓ of this mixture over the lasagna noodles. Top with ¼ of the mozzarella and ¼ of the Parmesan cheese. Top with a cup of the meat sauce, and repeat these layers two more times.
- For the final layer, start another noodle layer, then cover with meat sauce so that the noodles are completely covered. Top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.
- Bake 40-45 minutes until golden brown and bubbly. Allow to rest a few minutes before serving.
Also note: If you cannot find no-boil noodles, regular noodles are fine--just bake a few extra minutes so that they're cooked through. In any event, you'll have a few leftover noodles here.
Stop by the American Family Pinterest Board for family meal time inspiration or follow American Family Insurance on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. They will continue to share more family favorite recipes and the stories behind them.
Let’s see what the others have cooked up!
Cheesy Recipes Perfect for Sunday Supper:
- Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Soup by Chocolate Moosey
- Fettucine Pumpkin Cauli-fredo by Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Cheeseburger Chowder by Magnolia Days
- Three Cheese Lasagna with Meat Sauce by Webicurean
- Japanese Grilled Cheese & Kale Salad by NinjaBaking.com
- Cheesy Ham and Potato Bake by Country Girl in the Village
- Spinach Feta Greek Impossible Pie by Shockingly Delicious
- Cheesy Vegetarian Enchilada Soup by Curious Cuisiniere
- Steakhouse Bacon Alfredo Pasta by Juanita’s Cocina
- 3 Cheese Pumpkin Mac and Cheese by Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen
- Cheddar Popcorn Soup by MarocMama
- Broccoli, Mushroom & Cheese Strata by Momma’s Meals
- Chili Relleno Casserole by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- French Onion and Apple Soup by Supper for a Steal
- Cheesy Italian Sausage & Kale Quiche by girlichef
- Lighter Stove-top Mac and Cheese by Alida’s Kitchen
- Cheddar Potato Dumpling Soup by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Prosciutto, Chevre & Radish Toasted Sandwich by Foxes Love Lemons
- Cheesesteak Poutine by The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
- Roasted Tomatoes and Broccoli Rabe Flatbread Pizza by Family Foodie
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter each Sunday. We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET and you do not want to miss out on the fun. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.
Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? Click here → Sunday Supper Movement
This post is sponsored by American Family Insurance. All opinions are my own.