What has become one of the best side benefits of my blogging journey is the people who enjoy following the blog. What is even a greater joy is when my kids and their friends get in the action. This past weekend, my son was studying for finals with one of his friends. This friend is a good supporter of the site. So my son asked if I could cook for the two of them. Was that a rhetorical question? Absolutely.
I asked him to ask what kind of food he wanted. The request came back for Italian. What do you make for two 18 year old boys that has enough taste and substance? Lasagna. My son’s friend also asked for a soup and I made a Minestrone as well but that is for another post.
Ingredients (adapted from Tyler Florence):
2 pound dried lasagna noodles
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds ground chicken
1 pound ground Italian spicy sausage
1 pound ground Italian sweet sausage
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
3 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup finely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon dried oregano
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups red wine
2 (28-ounce) cans tomatoes
3 tablespoons skim milk (changed from heavy cream)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 quarts ricotta cheese, (2 containers)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cook the lasagna noodles in boiling salted water until just Al Dente, about 10 minutes. Stir with a wooden spoon to prevent sticking. Drain the noodles and coat with olive oil to keep them moist and easy to work with.
Coat a large skillet with canola oil, add the ground chicken and sausage and brown until no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
In your Cuisinart, add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, basil, parsley, an oregano.
Pulse until pureed, add to the pan with the ground meat and stir to combine. Cook for a few minutes letting the flavors combine. Stir in the flour. Add the wine and cook until it has reduced by half.
Stir in the tomatoes and add the milk and the cinnamon.
In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta and the parmesan. Stir in the eggs and season with salt and pepper.
To assemble the lasagna: Coat the bottom of a deep 13 by 9-inch pan with olive oil. Arrange the noodles lengthwise laying them side by side and being sure to overlap each layer. Dollop 1/2 of the ricotta mixture over the pasta, spread to the edges with a spatula.
Next cover with 1/2 of the meat mixture.
Sprinkle 1/2 of the mozzarella on top of the ricotta.
Top with a ladle liquid from the meat over the layers. Repeat with the next layer of noodles, ricotta, sauce, and cheeses. Top last layer with noodles and the sauce. Push down on the noodles to force out air bubbles. Bake for 30 – 45 minutes. In the last 5 minutes, top with a handful of mozzarella and cook until melted. Remove from oven.
Cut into as big of pieces as you wish. Enjoy!