MEAT LASAGNA

½ cup milk

2 slices white bread

1 cup Italian breadcrumbs

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon Dish off the Block Ciao Bella Italian Spice Blend

1 egg, beaten

2-pounds ground beef (80/20)

½-pound ground pork

3 tablespoons olive oil

6 cups spaghetti sauce (homemade or your favorite brand)

9 fresh or no bake lasagna noodles (approx. 6” x 8”)

4 cups whole milk ricotta cheese

6 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

Pour the milk in the bottom of a large bowl.  Rip the bread into small pieces and put it in the milk, stirring until the bread absorbs the milk.

Add the breadcrumbs, parmesan, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and egg to the bowl and mix everything together with a fork.  Add the ground beef and pork to the bowl, breaking the meat up into pieces.  Using your hands, massage everything together until well combined.

Heat the olive oil in a large deep skillet over medium high heat.  Spread the meat mixture in an even layer to cover the bottom of the pan.  Let the meat sear for 4-5 minutes until the meat is crispy brown and caramelized like you would see on a meatball.  Flip the meat over and cook for a caramelized crust on the other side.

Break the seared meat up with a spatula into small pieces and add 4 cups of the spaghetti sauce to the pan.  Mix the sauce into the meat and remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spread 1 cup of the remaining sauce in the bottom of a 9” x 13” baking dish.  Lay 3 of the lasagna noodles over the sauce, overlapping, to cover the bottom of the dish.  Top the noodles with 1/3 of the meat sauce, followed by 2 cups of the ricotta, and 2 cups of the mozzarella.  Repeat the layers with 3 more noodles, 1/3 of the sauce, 2 cups ricotta, and 2 cups of mozzarella.  The final layer is 3 more noodles and the remaining meat sauce.  Top the meat sauce with the remaining cup of plain sauce (no meat).  Cover the casserole with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove the foil and top the lasagna with the remaining 2 cups of mozzarella cheese and the parmesan. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes more until bubbly and golden brown.  Let rest for 10-15 minutes.  Garnish with chopped parsley and cut into squares.

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