I like to cook. It is my happy place. When I am chilled and sad I love something bubbling away on the stove. It soothes me.
My Midwestern Momma Lasagna
I am making 1 9×13 to give and 2 8×8’s to keep.
1 pound fresh ground pork
2 32 oz cans crushed tomatoes
1 16 oz can diced tomatoes
1 4 oz can tomato paste
1 large red onion chopped
3 cloves garlic chopped
2 carrots shredded
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon fennel seed
1 teaspoon garlic powder, onion powder, salt and black pepper.
pinch of red pepper flake, to taste
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Brown your pork, remove and drain. Sweat your onions, carrots and garlic a few minutes, add your tomato paste and stir until you smell tomato! Mix in your meat and water, add your canned tomatoes and spices, crush the herbs in your hand and drop it in. Bring this to a boil and reduce to a slow simmer…taste..now add your salt–don’t worry, your Cardiologist is not coming over for dinner?!? That is a lot of sauce and way better than that canned stuff!
1 32 oz ricotta (WHOLE OR SKIM…Chef don’t judge)
1 16 oz marscapone cheese (that is my ancient Chinese secret)
2 cup provolone or mozzarella shredded (reserve 1 cup for the top)
1/4 parsley chopped
salt and pepper
Noodles-I never cook my noodles for this, even if they are the “cook” kind. I fill my pasta pan with HOT tap water, drop 5 or six at a time (enough for one layer) and let them sit a minute or so. A lite spray on the baking dish and a ladle of sauce on the bottom….lay out your noodles (and drop your next 6 into the water)
Spread your cheese layer evenly, not thick, not thin. Now noodles. 2 or 3 ladles full of your sauce…repeat.
Top with your reserved cheese, heck sprinkle a bit of parsley, parm or whatever on the top….Spray some tin foil with Pam and cover. I have to tell you…place your baking dish on a cookie sheet!!! Good things happen when your dish bubbles in the oven…BAD things happen when it drips! Smart humans learn from others mistakes. Bake at 325 for 45 min. Remove foil (with Non-Stick cheese-smart ehh?) and bake 15 min more on top rack.
Now…here is the HARDEST part. Get it our of the oven and…walk away! Lasagna is best when it sits about 15 to 20 minutes. You will still have hot food, but you will get a neat and tidy slice that stays together!
I was blessed to have all my family around the table on a fun Friday night. I know our time together is special and brief. I am so glad I can share my days with them and my recipe with you.