Meatball Lasagna

(Andrew Porter)

12 lasagna noodles cooked according to package directions

4 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
29-oz. can Contadina tomato puree, plus 1 can water (or crushed tomatoes, plus can water)
14.5-oz. can Contadina diced tomatoes
6-oz. can Contadina tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon parsley
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Sauce:  Sauté garlic in hot oil in a large saucepan over medium heat for 30 seconds.  Stir in tomato puree or crushed tomatoes and water, tomatoes, and tomato paste.  Mix in oregano, Italian seasoning, basil, parsley, onion powder, and garlic powder.  Salt and pepper to taste, if desired.  Simmer for 45 minutes or until desired thickness (you will want about 6 cups of sauce).  Meanwhile, prepare meatballs.

Meatballs (make 60 to 80):
1 pound ground chuck (93/7)
2 large eggs
1 cup SorrentoŽ grated Parmesan/Romano cheese 
1 tablespoon parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup Italian bread crumbs

Combine ground chuck, eggs, Parmesan/Romano cheese, parsley, garlic powder, and bread crumbs.  Form into 1/2-inch balls, making 60 to 80 small meatballs.  Fry meatballs in a skillet over low heat until no pink remains.

15-oz. container Ricotta cheese
2 large eggs
1 pound Mozzarella cheese, grated
Parmesan/Romano cheese, grated, if desired 

Filling:  Combine Ricotta cheese and eggs with a fork.  Save cheeses separate for layering lasagna.

To assemble lasagna in a 9x13x2-inch pan:  place a layer of sauce (about 1 cup), 4 lasagna noodles, 1 1/2 cups sauce, 1/3 of meatballs, 1/2 of Ricotta and egg mixture, 1/3 Mozzarella cheese, sprinkling of Parmesan/Romano Cheese; repeat, ending with sauce, meatballs, and cheeses.  Cover with a tent of foil (not touching cheese) and bake in 350 degree oven for 1 hour or until bubbly.