Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Dinner Snapshot - Lasagna

We’ve spent the past year or so watching the Sopranos from beginning to end. We’ve made it all the way to season six without succumbing to our Italian food fantasies. Come Sunday, all I was able to think about was an episode from an earlier season in which Tony is looking around for lasagna with that “sweet sausage I love so much”. With that, I searched for a lasagna recipe and then headed out to buy all the ingredients.

This was no ordinary lasagna, made apparent by the constant trail of drool Monkey left on my foot. He watched every move I made, had interest in everything being chopped and layered, sautéed and spread. Mind you, Monkey is not an ordinary dog interested in ordinary things like Human Food. He once spent 13 hours sucking on a single French fry during a car trip. At the end of the trip, we found that he eventually discarded the fry and never even touched the slices of salami and the pecan sandie that my father had tried to tempt Monkey with unbeknownst to us. My dad thinks that Monkey doesn’t show interest in Human Food because of how we raised him. That has something to do with it, but what kind of dog won’t even eat a slice of salami?

So, anyway, here was my dog that has Human Food anorexia leaving a long, pleading trail of drool in hopes that I would give in and just feed the entire pan to him. I should have known from his reaction that we were in for a good meal. Just how good? Do you remember Garfield’s obsession with lasagna and how he would hoover the entire plate? Yeah, that was me.


1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
¾ lb extra lean ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic, pressed
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
12 ounces tomato paste
16 ounces tomato sauce
½ cup water
2 tbs sugar
¼ cup dried basil leaves
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tbs kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper to taste
4 tbs Italian (flat-leaf) pasley, chopped
1 box lasagna noodles
16 ounces ricotta cheese
1 egg
¾ lb mozzarella cheese, sliced
1 cup grated parmesan cheese

1. In a 5 quart pot, cook sausage, beef, onion, and garlic over a medium flame until browned.
2. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water.
3. Add sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and ½ of the parsley. Simmer, covered, for 1.5 hours stirring occasionally.
4. Cook lasagna noodles according to directions. Drain and cool with a cold water rinse.
5. Combine ricotta cheese, egg, remaining parsley, and ½ teaspoon salt in a bowl. Set aside.
6. Preheat oven to 375 F.
7. Spread 2 cups sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish. Place a layer of noodles over the top. Spread with one half of the ricotta mixture. Top with 1/3 of the mozzarella slices. Spread 1 ½ cups of sauce over the mozzarella and sprinkle with ¼ of the parmesan cheese. Repeat until you are out of noodles, ending with a topping of meat sauce and parmesan.
8. Cover with greased aluminum foil and cook for 25 minutes. Remove foil and cook for an additional 25 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.


  1. Looks amazing!!! Don't you think removing the casings from sausage is the worst?!?!

    I have the Sopranos cookbook if you ever want a looksie.

  2. It was awful! I kept thinking about how I once read that casing are made from anus. It didn't help the process much.

    I would love to see the Sopranos cookbook. That show makes me hungry!


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