16 Layer Lasagna

16 Layer Lasagna
8″X 8″ deep casserole with layers of pasta, Italian sausage, beef meat sauce, cheeses

4 cups homemade tomato sauce (recipe)
1 lb lasagna noodles, divided
3 eggs
2 lb ricotta cheese, divided
1 lb mozzarella cheese slices, divided
8 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated, divided

1. Prepare meat-and-tomato sauce and set aside
2. Cook lasagna noodles according to package instructions, or, use No Bake noodles, as desired
3. Remove from heat, and add cold water until cool enough to handle. Do not drain. Set aside.
4. Mix eggs and ricotta cheese until well combined
5. Grease a 8″ X 8″ X 3″ deep casserole dish or pan
6. Cover the bottom with two of the lasagna noodles laid edge to edge
7. Cover with 1 cup of homemade tomato sauce
8. Spread 1/4 of the ricotta cheese mixture spread out evenly
9. Add 1/4 of the mozzarella cheese slices placed side by side
10. Top with a sprinkle of 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese
11. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
12. Continue by creating another layer, following steps 6-10, creating 4 complete layers, ending with Parmesan cheese
13. Tent with foil, and bake for 45 minutes; remove foil and continue baking until top slightly browns, 10-15 minutes
14. Cool on a wire rack 15 minutes before slicing

Larry VaughnThis became one of my favorite dishes during Lea’s six months in Hartford Hospital back in 2005-2006. Maria, a patient care associate on the nursing staff that helped care for Lea, had a large extended family known for the varieties of tomatoes they grew for local vegetable wholesalers. A couple of times during early fall, she brought me a serving of her deep dish lasagna, which I have tried to replicate with this recipe in memory of her kindness.