Stopping to Smell the Coffee Beans

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Friday, January 8, 2010

Perfecto Lasanga

dish: Lasagna
tunes: Another Day by Jamie Lidell


Nick's
turn to type.

It’s freakin freezing outside. I mean… maybe not as cold as Chicago ( insert subliminal "move to DC Lisa" message here)… but it’s cold!! That simple fact means that it is a special time of year for me… it’s time for comfort food. Lisa and I had our first date at an old school Italian restaurant years ago.

I still remember her smiling as she talked about how much she loved traveling through Italy with her best friend Rommy. Needless to say, it was quite the memorable night, and it should be no surprise that Italian cuisine has held a special place in our hearts ever since. And what is the ultimate Italian comfort food? It’s gotta be the huge casserole dish layered neatly with noodles, meaty marinara (aka Bolognese) and all the cheese you can handle. You guessed it…. LASAGNA.

My mom makes a mean lasagna, and so does Olive Garden. yeah you heard me…. It may be a complete disgrace to the Italian people (along with Jersey Shore)… but it’s delicious and I'm not pretending to be Italian. But I digress. Lisa and I wanted to cook up some crazy good lasagna on a whim. So we did. And I gotta be honest… it was even better than I thought it would be. So without further ado… here is the recipe. Please enjoy. And also… and this is very important… make enough so that you will enjoy it over and over again.

Nick & Lisa’s Perfecto Lasagna

¾ lb 80/20 ground beef

1 lb ground Italian sausage

20 oz bottled/canned basic marinara sauce

2 cloves garlic

salt/pepper to taste

16 oz ricotta cheese

2 fresh eggs

½ cup fresh flat leaf Italian parsley

1 cup parmesan cheese

1 box “ready to bake” lasagna noodles

3 tbsp olive oil

1 cup of mozzarella (the fresher the better)

Bolognese

Add chopped garlic, 2 tbsp olive oil, and pinch of salt to pot and cook until translucent. Add the meats and brown them thoroughly. Generously season with salt and pepper. Add marinara to meat and simmer for 10 minutes, adding more salt/pepper if necessary. After simmering, add last tbsp of olive oil and ¼ cup of parsley. Stir and keep on low heat.

Cheese Mix

In a mixing bowl, combine eggs, ricotta, parmesan and parsley. Stir until fully mixed, add a heavy pinch of salt.

Casserole of Deliciousness

On the bottom of the dish, add a thin layer of meat sauce. On top of the sauce add your first layer of pasta sheets. Little tip: it’s better to have slightly more pasta than too little. Add first layer of cheese sauce on top of pasta sheets, followed by a heavier layer of the meat sauce. Repeat until your dish is ¾ full. On top of the next layer of noodles, add another thin layer of sauce, followed by the mozzarella. Centralize your cheese as it will spread during the baking process. Cover the masterpiece in aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes at 375. After 25 minutes, remove the cover and bake for another 5 mins or until the top has begun to brown. Pull the lasagna out of the oven and LET IT SIT!! At least 10 minutes. This is the most difficult part of this recipe.

…….. 10 minutes later, cut, serve, eat, enjoy, refrigerate, freeze, or whatever else you choose to do with the remainder of your succulent creation.