Chef Daniel Perry says the lasagna at Daniel’s Restaurant is “classic comfort food,” made with fresh-ground chuck, a tart marinara sauce and a generous helping of cheeses.
Daniel’s Restaurant Lasagna
4 frozen full-sized lasagna sheets (the size of the lasagna pan), par-cooked dry noodles or your favorite egg pasta recipe (rolled into size of the pan)
4 cups whole milk Ricotta cheese
5 cups grated part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup Romano cheese, grated
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, divided
1/4 teaspoon powdered garlic
3 cups marinara sauce, purchased or your favorite recipe, plus additional to serve with lasagna. (Daniel’s Marinara is more on the acidic side than sweet).
2 cups cooked, drained and crumbled ground beef, seasoned with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
If using dried pasta, cook in salted, boiling water until just pliable, drain and rinse.
Mix the ricotta cheese, 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese, dried herbs, heavy cream, Romano cheese, parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and powdered garlic in a large bowl until mixed well.
Spread about 2 cups of the marinara sauce evenly in the bottom of a deep, 9-by-13 inch baking dish or lasagna pan.
Quickly run 1 sheet of frozen lasagna under cold water so it is slightly pliable. If using pre-cooked pasta, skip this step.
Place pasta sheet on top of marinara sauce. Spread evenly with half the ricotta cheese mixture. Repeat with another sheet of pasta and another layer of cheese, rinsing each sheet first if using frozen pasta.
Place a third sheet, rinsing if using frozen pasta, on top of cheese. Evenly spread with the cooked ground beef. Top with a final sheet of pasta. Cover with the remaining marinara sauce.
Cover the dish with food-grade plastic wrap, then cover with foil. Bake for about 45-50 minutes, until bubbling and hot. Carefully remove both foil and plastic wrap. Top with the remaining 4 cups mozzarella cheese and return to oven for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Serve with additional marinara and romano cheese if desired.
Yield: 8-12 generous servings
Daniel’s Restaurant & Catering, 1430 N.C. 55 (West Williams Street), Apex. 919-303-1006. danielsapex.com