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birthday lasagna

Posted: May 9th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: family dinner meals | Comments Off on birthday lasagna

Here’s the recipe for the meat lasagna, as written by Paul’s mom, with my notes in italics:
Lasagna made with meat sauce

1-2 lbs mix ground chuck(for flavor) and ground lean beef(less fat) – I did one pound of each.

2-3 Italian sausages-can be mix of mild and hot, casings removed – I did two hot one mild

2-4 cloves garlic  chopped

1 large shallot or 2 small shallots chopped

salt and pepper, red pepper flakes

fresh parsley chopped–1/4 cup

fresh basil chopped or dried and dried oregano  equal parts of each in this recipe–do not overpower! – I did all fresh herbs

1 large can diced tomatoes

1-2 large cans tomato sauce-Hunt’s–do not use crushed tomatoes as those have skin mixed in and cook up bitter – I used two

Follow recipe on back of Lasagna noodle box for the cheese mixture–I like to add combo of both Parmesan and Romano as well as combo
of Mozzarella and Fontina grated —hold some aside for layering and also for the top.

I actually did about 1.5 x what the box says for cheese, so 1.5 pounds ricotta, 6 cups mozzarella, a lot of parmesan, some fontina and a bunch of parsley (which I had seen Paul’s mom do when we made this once with her)

You can’t have too much sauce for lasagna because whatever is left after layering can be heated for table use in the event that the lasagna dries out in cooking.  or just because you like extra sauce!


Saute meat in olive oil in a very large skillet.  Season with salt, pepper and hot pepper flakes.  Add shallots and garlic toward the end  so they will not burn
Add basil and oregano to taste.  When cooked, check to see if you need to drain any oil–ladle off excess oil from meat (uh, we didn’t do this.  We meant to skim the fat off the next morning after it had been refrigerated for a bit, but we forgot.  It wasn’t super oily though –  we’ve made it before when it’s been really intense, it seems the meat was leaner this go around.).  Add diced tomato and cook a bit until soft and mashable, then add tomato sauce and bring to boil, lower and simmer for one hour or so.  Taste and then adjust seasonings and green seasoning.    Add some parsley at the end, reserving some for the cheese mixture.

Cook noodles and drain–rinse in cold water to prevent sticking.

Make cheese mixture. Put some sauce in the bottom of the lasagna pan and then begin layering noodle, cheese mixture and meat sauce–add some grated cheese and mozzarella to each layer.  Follow directions on back of box for oven temperature and time–cover with foil as indicated so it won’t dry out yet the top will be crisp with crust.

Buon Fortuna!  Remember—Tutti a tavola a mangiare e beve!!
Love, Mom

Roasted Veggie Lasagna:

We didn’t make this sauce from scratch, we doctored a bottled sauce.  We used the back of the lasagna box as a guide – just like the cheese you want to double the sauce they recommend. Before putting the sauce in the pot we sauteed a couple cloves of garlic, half a medium shallot and quarter of a yellow onion in a few tablespoons of olive oil.  Once softened we added chunks of a green bell pepper, two red bell peppers and a portabella mushroom.  We let those cook down for quite a while – probably 20 minutes?  Until they were pretty soft, and then added a couple of jars of a basic marinara, and a bit of water.  We let it cook down for a bit before adding fresh basil and oregano.

Create cheese mixture as for meat lasagna.

For the insides:

3 portobella mushrooms – sliced 1/4 inch thick

1 red bell pepper – cut into 1.5 inch squares

1 orange bell pepper – cut into 1.5 inch squares

1 zucchini – cut on the diagonal in 1/4 inch slices

1 summer squash – cut on the diagonal in 1/4 inch slices

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lay cut veggies on 2 cookies sheets and toss with olive oil.  Season with salt & pepper.  Roast until tender 25-35 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cook lasagna noodles to just under done.  Rinse with cool water.

Put some sauce in the bottom of your pan.  Layer noodles, then cheese mixture, then vegetables.  Cover with thin layer of sauce.  Repeat. Cover with last layer of noodles, then sauce, then top with loose mozzarella and whatever fontina is left.  Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes.  Sauce should be bubbling.  Remove foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes.

I always make mine too tall, so they always bubble over.  Covering a cookie sheet in foil and putting it on the rack below the lasagne will save you a lot of oven cleaning.

The cake recipe is Cook’s lllustrated and it’s not online and I’m tired and lazy at the moment.  I’ll see if I can upload it at a later date.

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