Cookbook

Pasta - :gg's Lasagna with Home Made Sauce :rectnt
Lasagna with Home Made Sauce
Sometimes even an oak tree sways in the wind, and for good reason. This clearly epic recipe was written in a format that clearly doesn't match that which I normally use to present a unified cookbook with one cohesive message: KISS, or Keep It Simple Stupid. I learned that in the military eons ago...what it really meant was, make everything the same so that no one could mistake what they were supposed to do. But take a look at your hands. Your fingers all work the same and then you find your thumb that does everything backwards. Well, it wouldn't all work if it weren't for the thumb. So let this be OUR thumb. Let this stand for what we are all here for: Good Food and Good Friends. Let this be the thumb that grips us together. - I have made one addition to :gg's recipe: I've made a list of the ingredients as :gg presented them and put them in the Ingredients section. They are still in the Instructions section exactly as GG wrote it, but I need a shopping list that is easy to discern. Now to :gg's original post. oz

Date: Wednesday, 14 June 2000, at 1:18 p.m.
In Response To: ISO: Your best Lasagna recipe(Lavy)
Lavy, You made we realize that I should get my Lasagna recipe written down in
ONE PLACE so that my children will have it when
they are looking for it sometime in the future!

First of all, you need to get a big pot of homemade sauce cooking. I
have included a recipe for meatballs for the times when
you are not making Lasagna with the sauce. Here is my recipe for sauce
which I have written down for posting here at TSR in
the past.

Ingredients:

For Italian Marinara Sauce:
olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans crushed tomatoes (20 oz. size)
2 cans (20 oz) puree
1 (12 oz) can tomato paste
Opt: 2 +/- cups water (to thin to your preference)
1/2 tsp. oregano
1-3 Tbsps. basil (If you have FRESH basil, that is much better!!!)
1 Tbsp. parsley
Opt: 1 whole carrot (Be sure to remove it and discard when ready to serve.)
1/4 tsp. of baking soda
2 Tbsps. sugar (1 tsp. to 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup of wine (red, white, whatever you have on hand is fine!)

For the Home Made Meatballs (Can be doubled, tripled, etc...):
1 lb. ground beef
approximately 1/2 cup ± Progresso Italian bread crumbs
approximately 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsps basil
1 tsp. parsley
1/2 cup chopped onion (opt.)

For the Lasagna:
1 lb. ground round
1 lb. Italian sausage
1 lb. ricotta cheese
1 egg
about 2 Tbsp. parsley
1 lb. mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 lb. lasagna noodles
1/2 cup - 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions:

Italian Marinara Sauce
Brown one chopped onion and 2 - 3 cloves minced garlic in olive oil.
Add 2 cans crushed tomatoes (20 oz. size), 2 cans (20 oz) puree and one
12 oz can tomato paste
(I use Red Pack brand, but I know it is not readily available in all areas.
Any good Italian brand is acceptable also.)
Opt: About 2+/- cups water to thin sauce (to whatever thickness you
prefer)

Add - oregano, basil and parsley. Start with a tsp. of each and adjust
according to your personal tastes. My family doesn't like oregano, so I
use only about 1/2 tsp. of that and at least a Tbsp. of
parsley and basil - sometimes as much as 3 Tbsps. of basil. If you have
FRESH basil, that is much better!!!

Sometimes I add a whole carrot to the sauce for flavor. Be sure to
remove it and discard when ready to serve.

Here is where my recipe may differ from others:

Add a pinch (1/4 tsp.) of baking soda. You will see the sauce bubble.
This is added to take the acid out of the tomatoes! It really works.

Also, I add SUGAR to my sauce. Some like sauce a little sweeter - try
starting out with a tsp. and adjust accordingly. Many Italian cooks add
as much as a 1/4 cup, depending on the amount of
sauce you are making. I would use about 2 Tbsps. for this amount. A
local Italian restaurant is said to add APPLESAUCE to
its marinara sauce!

Next step is to add about a 1/4 cup of wine (red, white, whatever you
have on hand is fine!). Then simmer all the ingredients for a few hours.

This is just a tomato (marinara) sauce. If you want to add meat to it,
you can do so. I usually make meatballs in advance - 5
lbs. at a time, bake them and freeze them on cookie sheets and store in
Zip Lock bags and use as many as needed. I
sometimes add brascioli (rolled steak), whole pieces of chicken,
porkchops or, a family favorite...wedges (about 1" to 2" lengths) of
pepperoni to my sauce. Adding meat sometimes makes your sauce a little
greasy (especially pepperoni), but gives it a different flavor.

To eliminate SOME of the grease, I cut the pepperoni in 1" or 2" pieces
and put them on a glass plate and microwave for a minute or so turning
at 30 second intervals. Then wipe off grease with a
paper towel before adding to sauce. The longer your sauce cooks, the
more time the meat will have to absorb the flavor of the
sauce and will taste better! Keep in mind that each meat
you add will make the taste of the sauce a little different.

Home Made Meatballs (Can be doubled, tripled, etc...)
1 lb. ground beef
approximately 1/2 cup ± Progresso Italian bread crumbs
approximately 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsps basil
1 tsp. parsley
1/2 cup chopped onion (opt.)

Mix well, roll into balls and bake on cookie sheets in 350ºF oven for
about 1/2 hour. Then quick-freeze and store in freezer bags.

I am of Italian descent and have been making sauce (usually at least
once a week) ever since I can remember. I never measure myself, so these
amounts are approximate! Hope you enjoy it!

Now, to make the lasagna:LASAGNA

1 lb. ground round
1 lb. Italian sausage

Squeeze sausage out of the casings and brown along with ground beef in
skillet. Drain as much of the grease as possible. Add
crumbled meat to sauce to make a "meat sauce". Simmer on the stove for a
few hours so that the meat has absorbed the flavor
of the sauce. (Meatballs and other whole pieces of meat should not be
added at this point.) After you have made the lasagna
itself, you can add the meatballs, etc. to the sauce. The only reason
for doing this is that it makes it easier to "get at" the ground
meat in the sauce when you are assembling the lasagna.

Mix the following 3 ingredients together:

1 lb. ricotta cheese
1 egg
about 2 Tbsp. parsley

1 lb. mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 lb. lasagna noodles
1/2 cup - 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook lasagna noodles as directed on package. Drain, separating noodles.
In bottom of 12 x 9 x 2 pan, place several spoonfuls
of sauce. Top with first layer of lasagna. Spoon half of the ricotta
cheese mixture on top and spread to cover noodles with a
layer of the cheese. (If you like a lot of cheese, you can put it on
heavier, but you will probably need to use twice as much
ricotta, egg and parsley. I prefer not to have a lot of cheese in it.)
Using a large slotted spoon, scoop some of the meat out of
the sauce (which has been simmering for hours...) and sprinkle it evenly
over the ricotta layer, adding only a small amount of
sauce with the meat. Sprinkle 1/3 of the shredded mozarella cheese on
top. Sprinkle grated cheese over that. Top with a
crisscross layer of the lasagna noodles and repeat the process. Top with
a third and final crisscrossed layer of noodles. Cover
with a final layer of sauce. At this point, you can be more liberal with
the sauce. Top with remaining mozarella. Cover with
aluminum foil for first 1/2 hour of baking so that it doesn't get
overdone on top. Bake at 350ºF until bubbly (usually about an
hour). Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Posted by GourmetGal :gg
Notes: You can slice the mozzarella thinly instead of shredding, and place it
evenly over each layer of lasagna. (That's the way my
Mom always did it, but I like to shred it.)

My Mom warned me not to put too much sauce on the lower layers, since
the sauce on the top layer will "seep down" and it
will become too liquidy. My favorite part is the sauce, and I had a hard
time not loading it down with it, but I listened to her!
The same goes for the ricotta cheese. I had a friend who told me when
she makes her lasagna, the lasagna "falls apart" and
slides all over the plate when she serves it, and doesn't stay in a
"square". When she saw how I made it, she realized that she
was using too much cheese (and not adding an egg, which helps "bind"
it).

Hope this is clear enough for everyone to understand. Let me know if
not. Since I did not have a recipe written down, this is
directly from my brain to the keyboard! - G.G.

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