I was thinking about some of my
mother's favorite dishes the other night and
I came to a realization. She never made us lasagna.
We'd have chili, meatloaf, fried chicken, fish
sticks, scrambled eggs, and all the favorites
of American family fare, but we never had lasagna.
When I got older, my sister used
to make lasagna for large family gatherings
even though our ethnic makeup was something
along the lines of Scottish-Irish-Polish-Russian.
Sure beats the hell out of Haggis, Boiled Potatoes,
The thought that we never had
lasagna sort of troubled me, so I tried to decipher
why. The answer came pretty quick...Mom didn't
like to follow directions. While my father is
a firm believer in following the steps of any
process, Mom was more into winging it and seeing
what came out of the oven.
While a couple siblings inherited
Dad's more rigid approach to a process, I got
the best of both worlds. I have Mom's knack
for cobbling together a meal from nothing and
Dad's ability to rigidly follow directions,
but only when the time calls for it.
Lasagna is one of those times
that calls for it. I make a nice deep dish lasagna
a couple times a year, and this dish is great
as a leftover for a night or two.
1 lb. bulk sweet sausage, crumbled
2/3 cup fresh chopped onions
2/3 cup fresh chopped parsley
1/2 tbsp. fresh minced garlic
3 (6 oz.) cans tomato paste
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
2 cups water
1 and 1/2 tsps. Italian seasoning
1 and 1/2 tsps. Oregano
1 and 1/2 tsps. Sweet Basil
1 lb. part-skim Ricotta cheese
1 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsps. garlic salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
12 lasagna noodles, cooked according to package
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
sausage, onions, half the parsley and minced
garlic in a skillet or stock pot. Drain. Add
tomato paste, tomato sauce, water, and seasonings.
Mix well and simmer, covered, for five minutes.
In a bowl combine the remaining
parsley, ricotta, spinach, parmesan, eggs, garlic
salt, and pepper. Mix well.
a lightly greased 13x9x2 baking dish spread
2 cups of the sauce mixture. Begin layering
with four noodles (though my pan would only
hold three), 1/3 of the cheese mixture, 1/3
of the remaining sauce, and 1 cup of Mozzarella.
Repeat layering, ending with the noodles, sauce,
Bake, covered at 350 degrees F
for 45 minutes. Remove cover and bake for an
additional 10 minutes. Let lasagna stand about
10 minutes before serving.
Makes 12 servings.