Food  |  Parenting

Family-Friendly Recipe: Lasagna With Bolognese & Spinach

Alexandria's Evening Star Cafe Executive Chef has prepared five family-friendly meals for parents.

Photography by Renée Comet. Food Styling by Lisa Cherkasky.

Jim Jeffords, the executive chef at Alexandria’s neighborhood favorite Evening Star Cafe and dad to six-month-old Virginia, has prepared this comfort-food classic that your family will eat right up!

Lasagna With Bolognese & Spinach


2 links Italian sausage (removed from casing) 1 lb ground beef (80-percent lean suggested)
1 28 oz can diced San Marzano tomatoes 1 tablespoon tomato paste
10 cloves garlic, thinly sliced 1 large or 2 small onions, diced
1 bottle Miller Lite or another pale beer 15 ounces ricotta cheese
1 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced or shredded 1 pound spinach, washed thoroughly
1 pound lasagna noodles 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon celery salt 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
extra-virgin olive oil kosher salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat pan over high heat and add olive oil to coat pan; heat oil until it starts smoking lightly. Add pork sausage and ground beef; season with salt and pepper. Cook until browned; remove meat from pan.

Reduce heat to medium. Add garlic, onion, tomato paste, and more olive oil (if needed) to pan. Cook until garlic and onions are soft and golden brown. Add meat back to pan, along with diced tomatoes and juices. Bring to a simmer. Add beer, paprika, celery salt, salt, and pepper to taste. Simmer for 30 minutes to 1 hour, until slightly thickened.

While sauce is simmering, cook lasagna noodles according to instructions, and drain. Pour enough olive oil to lightly coat bottom of a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. Place one layer of lasagna noodles in dish. On top of noodles, add a layer of sauce, then sprinkle on ricotta, mozzarella, and spinach. Repeat until you’ve used all lasagna noodles, sauce, cheese, and spinach (you should have four layers). Cover top layer of lasagna noodles with remaining mozzarella and sauce.

Cover lasagna dish with aluminum foil and place in oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and increase oven temperature to 400 degrees. Bake lasagna for an additional 10 minutes or until cheese on top is browned.

Serve with garlic bread—Chef Jim recommends brushing sliced ciabatta with olive oil, toasting, and then rubbing bread with a sliced clove of garlic.

Serves 6 to 8