One of the many perks of having a new baby is people come to your home to shower you with love, gifts, and delicious food. Needless to say, I was beyond thrilled when my childhood babysitter Shulamit came over toting a huge pan of lasagna. After a lovely afternoon catching up, she wasn’t barely back to Jersey before I snarled down half the pan. I had to go sit in the living room with my hands under my butt to keep from eating the whole damn thing before Ray got home. Every day after that, I woke up each morning thinking about her lasagna so I knew I needed her recipe so I could move on with my life.
The lasagna recipe is extremely important but we need to talk about Shulamit. She’s this tall, gorgeous, Jewish amazon with dark hair and sparkling eyes (not relevant but still feels important to highlight).
Ok, actually wait…if you’re just hankering for the recipe just scroll straight to it.
Now that those lasagna addicts have cleared out, she was THE BEST babysitter. The kind that would bring a bag of fun activities and crafts to our house each visit, the kind that was stern but fair, the kind you didn’t want to disappoint no matter how hard you reeeaalllyy wanted bend all your baby brother’s fingers back and put your thumbs in his eyeballs.
She taught us practical things like how to clean our room when it was paralyzingly messy (start from a corner and fan out), that a cup of Lipton tea should be 1 part tea, 1 part milk, and 1 part sugar (yummmm) and most importantly, she was one of the first people to expose me to food writing.
Ok, it was really rudimentary and my claim is a total stretch but, one of her babysitter bag activities was writing a “cookbook.” She had us staple pieces of paper together and decorate the cover. I got as far as scribbling “Monkey balls” on the first page with no meaningful list of ingredients or thoughtful instruction, but I’ll give her credit for sparking my initial interest in food. Funnily enough, her mother is a phenomenal chef and her sister is an extremely successful food writer.
So whether you’re a babysitter, an aunt, or a friend you never know the lasting impact you may have on a child. Such a beautiful thing!
Ok, at last, my take on Shulamit’s unreal lasagna. It turns out she did a riff on this recipe here but kept it vegetarian, added a whack ton of scallions, and did a mix of Rao’s marinara and Pomi pureed tomatoes. So, since I can’t follow a recipe for my life I did a riff on her riff (so meta). I added the ground beef back in from the original (it’s honestly delicious without it but Ray is a carnivore), hit it with some fresh spinach for some greenery, and a filthy amount of garlic (I got one of those huge bags of peeled garlic from Costco so you KNOW I went wild). But the real hero here is the no boil Barilla lasagna sheets. Man those things a game-changer. Make this tonight. Extra points if you make this for someone who just had a baby!
Yield 8-9 servings
adapted from this Genius recipe: Barilla No Boil Lasagna
- 1 (9 ounce) Box barilla no-boil lasagna noodles
- 2 Eggs
- 1 (15 ounce) Container ricotta. I suggest a high quality whole milk one
- 5 Cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1⁄2 Cup parmesan cheese (optional but why wouldn't you add more cheese?)
- 1 lb Ground beef or 1 lb sausage
- 2 (24 ounce) Jars Rao's marinara OR 1 jar Rao's, 1 jar Pomi pureed tomatoes
- 6 Cups fresh spinach
- 6-8 Cloves crushed garlic (don't judge me)
- 3 T Italian seasoning
- Bunch of scallions (about 6), thinly sliced
- Preheat oven to 375.
- In bowl, combine beaten eggs, ricotta cheese, 3 cups of the mozzarella cheese, parmesan, scallions, salt and pepper.
- Set aside.
- Brown the ground beef, add italian seasoning, crushed garlic, salt and pepper.
- Once browned add fresh spinach and wilt, cooking off any excess water.
- In a 13X9X3 pan, spread enough sauce to thinly cover bottom of pan.
- Layer in the order, 4 uncooked lasagna noodles (they will overlap), then 1/3 part of the ricotta cheese mixture, half the browned meat and 1 cup of marinara sauce.
- Next layer, 4 uncooked lasagna noodles, 1/3 part of the ricotta cheese mixture, and 1 1/2 Cups sauce.
- Next layer, 4 uncooked lasagna noodles, remaining ricotta mixture and remained meat, 1 cup of sauce.
- For top layer, 4 uncooked lasagna noodles, remaining sauce, and remaining mozzarella.
- Bake covered with foil for 50-60 minutes.
- Uncover and continue cooking until all the cheese is melted on the top (about 5 minutes).
- Let stand 15 minutes before serving.