Beef and Bechamel Lasagna

Meat Sauce Layer:
1 slice bacon, chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, grated
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/ 2 pound ground beef
1/4 cup red wine
1 (20-ounce) jar prepared marinara sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Bechamel Layer:
4 cups milk
3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup flour
Pinch ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cottage Cheese Layer:
2 cups (4 percent milkfat) cottage cheese
1 egg
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable cooking spray
9 sheets boil-free lasagna noodles
3 cups total grated mozzarella and Cheddar (according to preference)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. For the meat sauce: In a large saucepan or small Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until nearly crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the onions and carrots, season with salt and pepper, and cook until softened, another 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Add the ground beef and cook until the beef is no longer pink, 6 to 7 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the wine and add the marinara sauce and cinnamon. Fill the jar one-quarter full with water, swish it around to pick up any sauce left behind, and add it to the pot. Remove from the heat and set aside. For the bechamel sauce: Heat the milk in the microwave for 2 minutes. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, and then whisk in the flour. Cook, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes. Whisk in the warm milk and cook until thickened, whisking frequently, about 10 minutes. Add the nutmeg, garlic, salt, and pepper and set aside. For the cottage cheese layer: In a blender or food processor, add the cottage cheese, egg, and Parmesan, and pulse until the cottage cheese curds are small (the mixture will resemble ricotta). Season with salt and pepper and set aside. To assemble: Spray a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 1/4 cup water plus 1/4 cup meat sauce in the bottom of the pan. Lay 3 noodles crossways in the pan. Divide the cottage cheese mixture in half. Divide the remaining meat sauce in thirds. Divide the grated cheese into fourths. Divide the bechamel into thirds. Add the layers in the following order: cottage cheese, meat sauce, grated cheese, and bechamel. Then, add another layer of noodles, cottage cheese, meat sauce, grated cheese, and bechamel. Finally, add the remaining 3 noodles, meat sauce, grated cheese, and bechamel. Spray a large piece of foil with cooking spray and cover the lasagna tightly. Bake for 50 minutes. Remove the foil and top with the remaining grated cheese and cook an additional 10 minutes, or until the lasagna is bubbling. Allow the lasagna to rest 15 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.

6 to 8 servings
Prep & Cooking Time:
2 hours and 15 minutes
Skill Level: