Here's nothing fancy, just awesome lasagna. You can assemble the entire thing the day or night before, then put it in your slow cooker and flip the switch when you're hours away from dinner. A green salad, a loaf of crusty bread and a good, full-bodied red wine are all you need. A dinner with friends, on a weeknight!

Serves 8 to 10


For the meat sauce:
  • 1/3 pound ground beef
  • 1/3 pound ground veal
  • 1/3 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery (about 1 rib)
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped garlic (6 to 7 cloves)
  • Two 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup homemade beef stock or packaged low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed, red pepper
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sugar
For the lasagna:
  • One 15-ounce container ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 package dried lasagna noodles (9 noodles), ends broken and discarded so the noodles are the length of the slow cooker
  • 12 ounces packaged mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 8 ounces sliced provolone cheese
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


To make the meat sauce, heat a 12- to 14-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef, veal and pork and cook, stirring as needed, until browned, about 8 minutes. Add the celery, onion and garlic and cook for 2 minutes longer. Stir in the tomatoes, beef stock, salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper, oregano, basil, thyme and sugar and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. (This sauce can be made up to several days in advance. It freezes well, too.)

Combine the ricotta and the egg in a medium bowl. Stir in 1/2 cup of the cooled meat sauce.

To assemble the lasagna, add 1/2 cup of the sauce to a 6-quart slow cooker. Arrange 3 lasagna noodles, side by side, on top of the sauce. Place 6 heaping tablespoons of the ricotta mixture on the noodles and spread it over 8 to 10 servings evenly. Top the noodles with 1/3 of the grated mozzarella, 1/3 of the provolone slices and 1/3 of the fresh mozzarella. Top with 2 cups of the meat sauce. Make 2 more layers without adding the last layer of cheeses.

Cook on low for 4 hours.

Add the reserved cheeses and the Parmigiano-Reggiano to the lasagna and replace the lid. Turn off the slow cooker and allow the cheese to melt and the lasagna to set by letting it cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.

From Emeril's Cooking with Power (HarperCollins) by Emeril Lagasse.

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