Sunday, October 05, 2008

My Lasagna

Look, I'm of German-American descent...so preparing sour kraut, sausages and schnitzel is a breeze...I was raised on the stuff ~ "Vood chu like some lee-va-vurst, yah?"
Then I married a Sicilian-American...from the Midwest, no less.....UH OH...."You want what, for dinner?"
It's been 10 years and after many attempts, I've somehow managed to "dial-in" an Italian recipe or two.
I know everyone has their special version of this timeless classic, and there seems to be some controversy as to where this dish originated from (Greek, British, Italian)..none-the-less, here is my family favorite and Sicilian-husband approved recipe!

Lasagna Frascona Serves 4-6
Cheese Filling Mixture -
2 TBL. olive oil
4 oz. prosciutto, thinly sliced - chopped
1 large egg, beaten
1 (15 0z.) container whole milk ricotta cheese
1/3 cup frozen chopped spinach – thawed, squeezed dry
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
¾ tsp. salt
twist or two of freshly ground pepper
- Pour olive oil into large pan. Saute prosciutto until crispy. Remove and drain on paper towels, allow to cool. In a large bowl, beat the egg. After well beaten, add the ricotta, spinach, Parmesan, cooled prosciutto, salt and pepper. Mix well, put in the fridge.


Pasta Sauce -
1 lb. ground buffalo meat (yes, buffalo - it's very good) or lean ground beef
1/4 cup Port Wine (the good stuff...not a WalMart item!)
5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
lightly salt and pepper
1 (24 oz.) jar of Roasted Garlic Spaghetti Sauce, any brand
- Use the same pan from sauted prosciutto – add ground beef of choice and brown. Lightly salt and pepper. Add wine, let reduce. Add chopped garlic when meat is almost completely browned. Add jar of sauce. Simmer completed sauce for at least 15 minutes. Turn off heat, cover.


Bechamel Sauce -
2 TBL. unsalted butter
4 tsp. all-purpose flour
1 ¼ cups whole milk
¼ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. white pepper
pinch ground nutmeg
- Prepare like a basic roux.

Additional stuff -
8 oz. (1/2 package) mozzarella, shredded – set aside
9 lasagna noodles, cooked
9X13 dish, high sided

Prepare the sauces and cheese mixture separately, cover and set aside.
To boiling water, add a sprinkle of salt and then the noodles. Boil noodles for approx. 7 minutes – til not quite done, just flexible. Lightly coat large cookie sheet with olive oil, and place cooked noodles on cutting board, three at a time.

Before you layer - Spread thin layer of Bechamel evenly on bottom of dish.
Layer – divide remaining sauces, cheeses in 3rd’s.
- Place 3 noodles on top of b├ęchamel.
- Place 1/3 of the cheese mixture on noodles in dollops, then spread as evenly as possible.
- Spoon 1/3 of Bechamel sauce and drizzle as evenly as possible.
- Spoon 1/3 of pasta sauce and spread as evenly as possible.
- Sprinkle 1/3 of shredded mozzarella over layer as evenly as possible.
Repeat the above layering order two more times so your lasagna ends up with three generous layers. Top the last layer with an extra sprinkling of parmesan.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cover lasagna with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for additional 15-20 mins. until cheese is melted and lightly browned. Remove from oven, let sit for 10 minutes. Enjoy!
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