The question for this week is: What's your favorite family recipe/meal?
My favorite meal that I make for my family is one that I don't make all that often. It gets a bit pricey, and it also takes between 2 to 3 hours to cook. Still, when I do embark on the journey of making this delicious dish, it's well worth it. What? You want to know what this wonderful dish is? Okay, I guess I'll tell you.
There are numerous ways to make lasagna, but the version I'm going to share with you is the official family favorite. I don't think my husband would want me to make a different version. It's the kind of meal he dreams about.
Anyway, I'll share the recipe with you, because I'm nice like that.
1 package lasagna noodles
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 to 2 lbs. Italian sausage (depending on how meaty you want you lasagna to be, can be sweet or spicy-I tend to go the spicy route)
1 medium diced onion
4 cloves of garlic (crushed)
2 (28 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
2 (6 oz.) cans tomato paste
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tsp. dried basil
4 tbsp. parsley
salt (to taste)
ground black pepper (to taste)
16 oz. ricotta cheese
3/4 lb. shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 lb. shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
In a large skillet, sautee diced onion and garlic. Add Italian sausage, cook until well browned. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and water. Simmer, stirring frequently. Season with basil, parsley, salt, and ground black pepper. Remember, you're adding the salt and pepper to taste. This means that you have to taste it without eating too much. Difficult, I know, but it must be done this way. Let the sauce cook for an hour to an hour and a half. The longer the sauce cooks, the better the flavors mingle together. Just don't forget to stir. Sorry. No leaving the kitchen for too long. (Note: Sometimes I add mushrooms to the meat sauce. It just depends on my mood. And really, any vegetable you fancy could totally join the party.)
While the sauce is simmering away, you can pass the time by bringing a pot of salted water to a boil. Because, hey, why not? It'll keep you occupied and make it possible to cook your noodles. Feel free to follow the package directions here. I'm sure they know what they're talking about.
Then, once the water is boiling away and your arm is about to fall off from stirring the sauce (it'll be worth it, though, trust me!), you can take a break to make the cheese mixture. Okay, so it's not a break, but it's a change of pace. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, mozzarella, egg, salt, and pepper. Parsley would also work well in the mixture too. Only if you want it there, of course. Not forcing you to do anything. Just make sure it's mixed consistently.
Prior to lasagna assembly, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
When it comes time, take a 9x13 inch baking dish and spread just a bit of meat sauce along the bottom. Layer some of your scrumptious lasagna noodles on top. Then spread some of your cheese mixture over that, followed by a layer of your meat sauce. Then more noodles. Keep layering. I could go into more detail about this part, but I'm sure you get the idea. Save a little meat sauce, though. After the last layer of noodles is down, you'll want to spread the little bit of remaining meat sauce over the top. Cover your the lasagna with aluminum foil and stick it in the oven for 30 minutes. Caution: the pan will be extremely heavy. This is a massive amount of food, after all. Don't drop it! You've put in too much work at this point to have it end that way.
At this time, you can feel free to put your feet up. You could also start to tackle the enormous pile of dishes now littering your kitchen. I never do, but you totally could.
After 30 minutes, remove the foil and sprinkle remaining shredded cheese on top. Put the lasagna, sans foil, for an additional 5 to 10 minutes. Basically, you want to make sure your top cheese layer is melted.
Now you can eat! Just remember, it's hot! No one wants to ruin a good meal by being impatient and scalding the roof of your mouth with molten cheese. Yikes!
What's your favorite recipe?