Friday, October 29, 2010
Sunday Dinners and other Celebrations
In our Spring and Summer Days, with children and careers, we had little time to sit and chat with friends.
Sunday Dinners were the only times to catch up with each other, with the rhythm pulsing in our veins.
Sunday Dinners were big and loud and filling:
Lasagna, Chicken and Dumplings, Rib Roast, Turkey and stuffing.
The present blended with the past as I explained how to make that special sauce that was the same as my mother's and her mother's. Hubby introduced me to Chicken and Dumplings, from his mother's side, a Scandinavian specialty.
Do prepare legendary meals now and then. Your family will remember them forever. They will become part of your story.
Today's recipe is for Lasagna.
(Makes enough sauce for ten servings)
For the sauce:
1lb ground beef-not lean
1 lb of Italian sausages, cut into bite-size pieces
1 big can of tomatoes
2 small cans of Contadina tomato paste
1 glassful of good red wine, the same one you'd drink
2 beef bullion cubes
3 bay leaves
1 bunch of basil leaves, torn
1 big onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
salt and pepper to taste
1 pkg of Lasagna pasta
2 C Parmesan cheese, one cup for the assembly, one to add to the individual plates
1 lb mozzarella, grated to add to the cheese filling and sliced to add to the topping
1/2 bunch of parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 crusty loaf of bread
1 bottle of red wine to your liking
Make the sauce:
Brown the ground beef and the sausages in a big heavy pot. Remove the meat as it begins to brown and set aside while you saute' the onion until golden, and barely saute the garlic. Add the red wine and scrape the bottom until all residue has been incorporated.
Cook down for a few minutes.
Add the tomatoes, but reserve the juice. Cook down the tomatoes before adding the paste. Cook a few minutes until incorporated.
Add the tomato juice, a cup or two of water and cook until all blended.
Add the meat back to the sauce. Add the bay leaves and the bullion cubes. Turn down the heat and let the sauce simmer slowly for at least twenty minutes.
The longer the sauce cooks, the deeper the flavor!
Prepare the cheese mixture. In a medium bowl, put ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella, eggs, chopped parsley, salt and pepper, and mix. It should be smooth enough to be spooned on the lasagna. If too stiff, add another egg.
Easy on the salt; the Parmesan cheese is sufficiently salty for most palates.
Boil your lasagna strand and drain well. Do this in small batches.
In a baking dish, put a ladle of sauce at the bottom and begin to layer. First the pasta, then the cheese blend, then the sauce again. You will have two, three layers.
Add additional mozzarella and Parmesan at the top.
Bake in a preheated oven at 350F for half an hour, covered with foil. An additional ten minutes, without the foil.
Serve with sprinkled basil leaves, more Parmesan and sauce, crusty bread and wine.