02 March 2009

Wow. What a Week...

A lot has happened since I decided to get back to blogging. It all started with a lay off. My employer basically shut down my department at work - at least it wasn't personal, right? Then we got word that my grandma, who was suffering with Alzheimer's Disease, would be gone soon and died. Then I got strep throat. Now I am left worrying that I will be unable to have a previously scheduled sinus surgery this Thursday due to strep throat. Ugh. Someone give me some good karma please!

Anyhoodle. If anything good came out of the past two weeks, it was lasagna. Or at least that is what my sister says. She sent me a very cute email asking me to blog about the lasagna that I made for my grandma's funeral. Apparently her husband and children adored it so much that she wants to be able to make it for them. I know she liked it, but I don't think she adored it - she isn't much for red sauce Italian food. So here is my problem - I threw this lasagna together without a recipe while chatting with a 2nd step cousin twice removed about my recently departed grandma. It is entirely possible I have no idea what I did to make this lasagna. But because I love my sister, and I am 78% sure I gave her strep throat, I am going to do my best to tell you all what I did to make my lasagna (or at least what I would do if I was trying to recreate it ;)).

Sorry for the lack of pictures... they were the last thing on my mind!

Lasagna by Josie - I don't swear to any of this recipe so email me if I am unclear!

2 packages no boil lasagna noodles
32 oz favorite marinara sauce (I used Classico)
32 oz favorite canned tomatoes (I used Mom's)
~8 oz shredded provolone cheese
~8 oz shredded mozzerella cheese
16 oz ricotta cheese
~8 oz shredded pecorino romano cheese
1 lb ground pork
1 lb ground beef
1 large onion, chopped and divided into equal halfs
6 garlic cloves, minced and divided into equal halfs
3 eggs
1 package frozen spinach, thawed and all moisture squeezed out
olive oil
basalmic vinegar
fennel seeds
dried basil

In a large sautee pan over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and the ground meats (you could omit the oil if you have excessively fatty meat and/or brown the meat then drain the fat and start fresh with some olive oil and the cooked ground meats). Cook until meat begins to brown, stirring often. Add half the onion and garlic to the pan, cook until meat is thoroughly browned and onions are beginning to turn golden. Add about a tablespoon of dried basil and about 1/2 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds, salt and pepper to taste. At this point taste the meat and see if you want more basil or fennel. Season meat with additional spices and stir in about 1 tablespoon of basalmic vinegar. Set meat aside.

In a small sautee pan over medium-high heat, add about 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the remaining onion and garlic. Cook until the onion is transluscent or beginning to turn golden. Set aside to cool. In a large bowl, add the ricotta cheese, shredded mozzerella and half the pecorino romano. Mix thoroughly, then add the eggs and drained spinach. After the onion/garlic mixture has cooled for about 5 minutes, add it to the bowl and mix thoroughly. At this point add about 1-2 teaspoons of dried basil, salt and pepper.

To assemble the lasagna, drizzle the bottom of a large, deep sided roasting/lasagna pan with olive oil. Then add about 1/2 cup of the marinara sauce. Spread the sauce so the entire bottom of the pan is coated. Add the first layer of uncooked lasagna noodles. Spread with 1/2 of the cooked meat mixture. Add about 1/2 of the shredded provolone cheese. Spread about 1/2 of the remaining marinara over the meat. Add another layer of lasagna noodles. Spread with 2/3 of the cheese mixture. Add the next layer of lasagna noodles. Spread with the remaining meat mixture combined with the remaining cheese mixture (I might have done two separate layers here if I had a deeper pan- one cheese and one meat instead of the combination). Add the remaining marinara sauce. Add the last layer of lasagna noodles. Spread the canned tomatoes and their juices over the entire lasagna. Then sprinkle the top with the remaining provolone and pecorino romano cheese.

Bake at about 350 for 1 hour covered, remove cover/foil and bake for an additional 30-45 minutes until brown and bubbley. These times will need to be compensated for if your lasagna is cold (I made it in advance and had it waiting in the refrigerator for post-funeral dinner - it probably took more like 2.5 hours to cook through, but it makes a huge lasagna!).

1 comment:

Laura said...

And here I have been blaming Dad for the strep. Which is more fun anyway. :)

Yes this lasagna is AWESOME. And it is true that I really liked it but would not eat it every night for the rest of my life or anything because red sauce bugs my stomach. But my family might be willing to (eat it every night). So I guess I had better bite the foodie bullet and make my first lasagna now that you have posted it.