Who here is a die hard Friends fan?!?! The answer is me!!! And everyone who has friends, of course. I haven’t heard of one person who dislikes this amazing show. I also can’t believe that my beloved show Friends is now twenty five years old. Rachel, Joey, Chandler, Phoebe, Monica and Ross are like my childhood friends, and they’ve been making me laugh for 25 years. So considering they are my first friends ever, I must celebrate and whip up a special Friends themed meal to eat while I restart the series. There are a lot of different foods sprinkled throughout Friends, but I’m making one that came up in the very first season: Monica’s Lasagna. In the episode, The One with the Dozen Lasagnas, Monica makes a dozen lasagnas for a party she is catering, only to find out that they ordered vegetarian, and not the meat ones she made. So, she was stuck with a dozen lasagnas and kept giving them away to her friends and strangers to eat.
I’m finally bringing Monica’s lasagna to life so we can all enjoy it. But we are only making one this time.
Classic Meat Lasagna
- 13×9-inch glass baking dish
- 1 box lasagna noodles
- 1 cup white onion chopped
- 1 cup carrot finely chopped
- 1/2 cup celery chopped
- 5 garlic cloves minced
- 1/4 cup parsley chopped
- 2 tbsp oregano dried or fresh
- 2 tbsp basil dried or fresh
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 cup red wine
- 28 oz. crushed tomatoes 1 large can
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Boil the lasagna noodles for 10 minutes.
- While your noodles boil, chop your onions, carrots, celery and herbs. Mince the garlic
- In a sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.
- Add onion and garlic, and sauté until soft.
- Add celery and carrot and continue to sauté, until tender.
- Raise the heat to high and add the ground beef.
- Break up the meat, and continue to sauté until the meat is no longer pink.
- Pour in the red wine and stir. Continue to cook until it has reduced by at least half — about 10-20 minutes.
- Add tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir in herbs, salt, pepper lemon juice and Parmesan. Reduce heat to low and let the mixture blend for 20 minutes, stirring periodically.
- While your sauce continues to cook, combine all of the cheese mixture ingredients in a bowl, until all the cheeses are evenly distributed. Set aside.
- Now it's time to assemble the lasagna. Spread the bottom of an oven-safe baking dish with a layer of the meat sauce.
- Place the lasagna noodles side by side, covering the bottom of the dish.
- On top of the noodles, evenly spread a layer of the cheese mixture. Add sauce onto the cheese in an even layer. Top with another set of noodles.
- Repeat with all layers, until the pan is full.
- For the top layer, add sauce and sprinkle the top with Parmesan and mozzarella cheese.
- Cover the lasagna with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove the foil cover and bake for an additional 15 minutes, to brown the cheese on top.
- Remove the lasagna from the oven and allow it to sit for 20 minutes before serving.