November 24, 2004
For reasons which entirely elude me, it has become the tradition in our household for me to cook a lasagna for our Thanksgiving dinner. I think it may have something to do with giving my wife an excuse to make me cook, but in any event I make a pretty good lasagna.
The recipe I use is one of those recipes that has been passed from friend to friend over the years, mutating ever so slightly at each step. My contribution to this process came about 25 years ago when I was first learning to cook for real. My wife (then girlfriend) was teaching me, but I tried to lean on her assistance as little as possible, mainly because I tend to favor the Jump Straight Into The Deep End school when it comes to learning new things. This recipe seem pretty straightforward and self-explanatory, so I didn’t ask for a lot of advice. However, being a novice, I was unclear on the distinction between a clove of garlic and a bulb of garlic. The recipe called for a clove, but I chopped up a whole bulb’s worth and put it in. Janice, who insisted, despite my whining, on periodically checking my work in progress, tasted the simmering meat sauce and pronounced that it was pretty good but that it needed more garlic. I protested, and insisted that I had already put in an entire clove, holding up a garlic bulb as illustration. It was at this point that the magnitude of my error became clear. We learned three important things that day which helped draw our growing relationship even closer: (1) she really likes garlic, (2) I really like garlic, and (3) you know, it’s really pretty hard to have too much garlic, isn’t it?
3 lbs. ground chuck (can substitute ground turkey for cheapness or leanness)
1 large bulb fresh garlic, minced
1+ tsp. Italian seasoning
1+ tsp. oregano
1 29oz. can or 2 15oz. cans tomato sauce
2 6oz. cans tomato paste
Brown meat slowly. Spoon off fat. Add other ingredients. Simmer at least 1/2 hr. uncovered (longer is better).
Cook 8oz. lasagna noodles as directed on package (rinse in cold water)
~2 cups Ricotta cheese (1 lb. carton should suffice)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
2 tbs. parsley flakes
2 beaten eggs
1/2 tsp. pepper
Slice 1 lb. mozzarella very thin
Put 1/2 of noodles in 13″x9″x2″ pan.
Spread with 1/2 of cheese filling.
Cover with 1/2 of mozzarella and 1/2 of meat sauce.
Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.
Let stand 10-15 minutes before cutting; filling will settle slightly.