Friday, October 29, 2010

Sunday Dinners and other Celebrations

Here we are nowadays, enjoying the Autumn of our lives, with friends and new acquaintances. Ray, on the left, is a good friend of my Hubby, on the right, and the two of them make the most of their time together. Here they are at a Rotary Show and Shine event, guarding the entrance, in a very relaxed way.

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

Additional ingredients:

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
1lb ricotta
2 eggs
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.

Buon Appetito!


  1. I've been looking for a good lasagna recipe, haven't found one I like so far. I'll be trying this one!

  2. I just decided today that I need to lose weight....I guess portion size is the trick...but I could eat a big portion of that!

  3. Oh ladies!

    It's time consuming to put this on the table, but there is more than you can eat in one sitting. It freezes well and reheats beautifully for those nights you need a quick meal on the table. I freeze mine in individual containers, a two-serving portion, great for lunch.

  4. I like how you wrote about the seasons of your life. As you know, my seasons are all mixed up :). Also, Rosaria, thank you for your sweet comment at my blog!


  5. I like the idea of legendary meals, and will bestir myself to create one. Great food, for lots of people, with memorable conversation, right?

  6. This lasagna is perfection and you've inspired me to make it! Thanks for the fabulous recipe, cher! Cheers and a lovely weekend to you and yours!

  7. I agree that good food becomes part of your story. It connects in ways that has always fascinated me. From my knipfla and saurkraut, which is just German peasant food, a way my great grandmother fed her ten children. But my family loves it, and it has become a thread weaved throughout the ages.

  8. Definitely a winner! There is something so special about sharing a meal with the people you love dearly.

  9. Lasagna is one of the things I make best and many Sunday get togethers with my grown kiddos gets this meal requested many times...My second son and his family moved away and my Daughter-in-law says she misses the imprompto.."Come to Sunday dinner" invites the most!

  10. Thanks for the lasagna recipe. Now, how about that chicken and dumplings recipe?

  11. Ellen, this Sunday, tomorrow, I will cook and write about chicken and dumplings. If you want an advanced notice, here are the ingredients to have on hand:
    Legs and thighs
    white wine
    one can of Campbell's Cream of celery or mushroom soup
    Bisquick mix

    Get them ready, and we will cook together on Sunday!