Lent starts this Wednesday, so today we will enjoy a good meal. (Not that all our meals aren’t good, but some are better than others! Especially when we are all together.)
Led by the example of the Pope, Catholics are expected to fast for the full forty days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday.
- 1 Lb Lasagna, – dry or fresh sheets
- 1 tsp Olive Oil
- 2 tsp Sea Salt
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Generously grease the bottom and sides of a 9”X12”X13” baking dish. If using dried lasagna noodles bring water to a boil in a large pot and add 2 tsp of sea salt and oil.
- Add pasta and stir gently for a few minutes to make sure they don’t stick together. This is the only time I add oil to pasta water.
- Pasta is ready when it is still very al dente, because you will be cooking it again.
- Drain the pasta and with tongs lift the strips out and place on towels to dry a little. If you are suing fresh pasta skip all that and just cut the fresh sheets to a size to fit the baking dish.
- You do not need to cook the fresh pasta sheets even though you may be tempted to.
- 1 Cup Onions – coarsely chopped
- 2 garlic Cloves – coarsely chopped
- ½ Lb Ground Beef Chuck
- 2 Lbs Italian Mild Sausage – casing removed
- Pinch of Ground Nutmeg
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
- 4 – 5 Fresh Basil Leaves – torn
- 2 Cans (28 Oz) San Marzano Tomatoes
- 1 ½ – 2 Lbs Ricotta – whole milk
- ½ – 2/3 Cups Italian cheese – freshly grated
- ½ – ¾ Lb Fresh Mozzarella – shredded
- Olive Oil
- In a large pot heat the oil and add the onions and garlic and cook until translucent. Do not let them burn.
- Add the ground chuck and sausage meat. Breaking up the meat clumps as the meat cooks.
- Add salt and pepper to taste and stir well.
- Add the nutmeg.
- When the meat is cooked but not too dry, add the tomatoes and basil. You can put the tomatoes in a blender and quickly pulse beforehand if you like. I like to break up the tomatoes with my hand as I put them into the pot. it does make for a lumpier sauce which my family prefers.
- Lower the heat and simmer for about an hour or a little more making sure everything is well blended.
ASSESMBLE THE LASAGNA:
- Lasagna Sheets, Sauce, Ricotta, Mozzarella, Grated Cheese
- Spread a thin layer of the sauce on the bottom of the baking dish.
- Add a layer of the lasagna noodle of your choice over the sauce.
- Cover it with a little sauce, ricotta, shredded mozzarella and grated cheese.
- Repeat making as many layers as your baking dish will hold, ending with just sauce, shredded mozzarella and grated cheese, in that order.
- Bake for 30-45 minutes until piping hot and a little bubbly.
- Let rest for 10 –15 minutes before serving.
- Pass more sauce and cheese.
Note: To make the ricotta a little easier to spread I like to mix it with a beaten egg and a little sauce. Also, if you are using fresh pasta sheets and you have any sheets left over or even the scraps when trimming to fit the baking pan, cut these up in little strips and freeze to add to soup at a later date.