So Dave told me that he likes lasagna. That was all I needed to hear to make my decission on what my kitchen adventure would be this weekend.
I've had this old cookbook called Italian Immigrant Cooking forever... my mom bought this for me for Christmas years ago, the few things I have cooked from it were wonderfully simple and delish... so I decided to go with its recipe for lasagna... starting with the "Brooklyn Meat Gravy" (aka marinara). This recipe I would soon find out... would supply me with a life time supply of this meaty marinara.
First I would need FIVE pounds of tomatoes. I've never used anything that called for so many tomatoes, and I really lucked out as Publix was having a sale on some really beautiful "on the vine" tomatoes, they smelled wonderful and tomato-ey, which I thought was really unusual for supermarket tomatoes.
Publix was also having a massive sale on Ronzoni pasta... so we stocked up on that as well, expect to see a LOT of pasta dishes from us in the upcoming weeks!!! =)
I had way too much fun making this.
For the "Meat Gravy"
2 T olive oil
5 lbs tomatoes
1.5 cups diced onion
.5 cup minced garlic
2 T oregano
2 T parsley
.5 cup sugar
.5 t fennel
1 lb Spicey Italian sausage, skins removed, browned and broken apart
20 small meat balls, minced up
salt & pepper to taste
For the Lasagna
1 lb ricotta
1 cup grated Romano
1 cup grated Mozzarella
2 T parsley
9 sheets lasagna noodles, cooked al dente, tossed with olive oil
Cut crosses in the bottoms of your tomatoes, and drop them in boiling water for about a minute to loosen their skins, shock in iced water, and peel. Mash them up in a large bowl... removing any stems or hard bits.
Sautee the garlic and onions in the olive oil until they are soft and transluscent. Add tomatoes and their juices and the sugar. Cover and bring to a simmer. Add herbs and meats, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 2-5 hours, or until the sauce has reduced to a thickness you like.
Preheat oven to 375.
Combine Ricotta and 2 eggs and stir until well blended. Add Romano and Parsley and combine. Take a baking dish and spoon a layer of meat sauce onto the bottom.
Add a layer of lasagna noodles. Spoon the cheese mixture over the noodles and smooth. Add another layer of meat sauce and noddles and continue this way until the cheese mixture is gone. Top with a layer of noodles and grated mozzarella.
Bake until the cheese is melted and begins to turn golden in spots.
Serve with a bit of meat sauce spooned onto the plate, with a square of the lasagna centered on top.