Recipes

Lasagna

About this recipe

Lasagna is for special occasions like holidays, wedding showers, or your nephew losing his first tooth (it’s too fattening otherwise). Since this is a lot of work, make the sauce the night before, boil the noodles and assemble in the morning, and then bake for dinner.

Instructions

Sauce

Place a large saucepot on the stove; turn heat to just under medium and fry:

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil,
  • 3-4 cloves garlic.

Before the garlic browns, add:

  • 1 lb. extra-lean ground beef (or veal),
  • ½ lb. ground pork,
  • some beef, veal, or pork bones (an absolute necessity),
  • 1 tbsp. salt, 2 tsp. black pepper,
  • 2 tbsp. basil (if using fresh, add with tomatoes),
  • 3-4 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley (optional),
  • 2 stalks celery,
  • 1 large carrot (peeled).

Brown meat for a few minutes, and then add:

  • 1 cup white wine.

Reduce heat, cover, and let wine absorb into meat for 10 minutes. Remove lid, turn heat back up, and cook another few minutes until the wine has almost evaporated. Then add:

  • 4 (28 oz.) cans plum tomatoes (blended),
  • 1 can water.

Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 2-2½ hours. The sauce needn’t be fully reduced—watery is okay.

When the sauce is ready, shut off heat and discard the celery, carrot and bones. Then add:

  • ½ cup butter,
  • 1½ cups Parmesan cheese,
  • 1 cup whipping cream (33% fat) or 1½ cups table cream (17% fat).

Stir until everything melts.

Assembly

In a large pot, boil 2 lb. lasagna noodles (6-7 sheets at a time) in salted water until they’re three-quarters cooked (egg noodles are best). Boil fresh noodles only until they rise to the top (60–90 seconds). Scoop out noodles with a strainer and put into a large bowl of cold, salted water. Then take noodles from the water bowl, place on a tea towel, and pat dry.

Sauce the bottom of a 15” X 11” lasagna pan and place a layer of noodles lengthwise in the pan. Then put more sauce and another layer of noodles widthwise. Continue making the lasagna this way until you have 12-14 layers (end with sauce on top). Note: Be generous with the sauce, especially if freezing.

Cooking

Cut lasagna into 20-24 pieces and bake uncovered at 375°F for 1-1½ hours. It’s ready when the sauce on top boils and the corners are crispy. Then remove from oven, cover with foil, and let sit on stovetop for 10-15 minutes before serving (the stove keeps it warm).

Notes

  • For deluxe lasagna: add tiny meatballs to your sauce.
  • If making fresh noodles, you’ll need 6 eggs for a 15” X 11” pan.
  • Don’t put grated mozzarella on top (this stuff’s fattening enough).
  • You should have sauce left over (which you can use when serving).
  • Lasagna should be around 2 inches thick (if it’s too high, it will fall when serving).
  • If using fresh basil, be sure to add the parsley (so there will be little specs in the sauce).
  • You must mix your meats (e.g., beef and pork), and don’t forget the bones (you need them for flavour).
  • To make for another time, freeze before baking, and then defrost completely before shoving into the oven.
  • You could make your sauce Friday night, boil and assemble the noodles on Saturday, and then bake and serve Sunday.
  •  
    Since lasagna is so rich and usually served as an opening dish followed by meat and vegetables, don’t let anyone have a second piece (they’ll only get full).

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