It’s a Perfect Wednesday for Lasagna

This isn’t a normal thing either!

Cooking lasagna Wednesday night isn’t a normal thing. I normally don’t cook something with the amount of work it takes to make lasagna. It’s something for a Saturday or Sunday or holiday, but never during the week.

To say everyone was excited is an under statement. But, the reason I made the lasagna was all due to Patti. Without her pliablepicking up all the ingredients I neeeded to make the lasagna it wouldn’t have happened. She had bought the hamburger a few days ago, so that was already set. When I mentioned if she’d like lasagna this week she jumped at the idea. Lasagna and fettuccine alfredo are Patti’s favorites dishes of mine.
I told her the other ingredients I needed, and she ran out and picked everything up needed. She was determined for me to make this dish on Wednesday.

Making lasagna all comes down to patience and persistence. Not that it’s hard, but its learning techniques that make the lasagna come out perfect, from he noodles to the meat and cheese and of course the sauce. I take all of this into consideration when I am going to make the dish. That’s why I enjoy doing it on a weekend or holiday when I am in the cooking mood.

I put a lot of pride in my filling. The cheese is a recipe I learned from my grandmother and the meat is something I’ve perfected over time. Let’s talk about the hamburger first.

I sometimes use sausage mixed with the hamburger for a great mix that taste great. Then there are time when we don’t have sausage on hand, but I still want that flavor. To do that I’ve found a way (recipe,my grandmother taught me this, but I’ve perfected it) to flavor the meat so it taste like there is sausage in there. All I do is add a bunch of fennel seed and basil. When I’m done, you would swear there is sausage in the hamburger, but there isn’t. I even use this mix when I make the meatballs for my chicken soup. It works.

I could just eat the cheese filling!

For the cheese, which is ricotta I add some shredded mozzarella cheese, olive oil, garlic, eggs, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper. I don’t have an exact measure of these ingredients because I do everything by taste and sight. If it looks good, I’m usually pretty close to the taste I want. A little taste will let me know if I’m on target. I can give you an idea of how much to use if you ask.

From there it’s about the noodles. Cooking the noodles to the right consistency is key. You don’t want to overcook them nor undercook them. I decide upfront how many lasagna noodles I’ll need based on my pan size. I then start the process of cooking the noodles in batches/layers. I start with the noodles I need for the bottom layer. Once done I place the noodles in the pan/dish and add the filling. I fettuccineadd the hamburger to the bottom.

Then I cook the next layer. Again I place the noodles over the beef and then add the cheese filling. While this is going on I do the next layer of noodles. Depending on how many layers I just keep following this routine.

Before Cooking

The only way I can describe how I want the noodle to be before I make the lasagna is they shouldn’t be so cooked that they break when you pick them up out of the boiling water, but they shouldn’t be stiff either. They should be somewhere in the middle of soft and hard. I’d like to say medium, but that isn’t the correct description. You want them pliable?

Out of the Oven!

After this once everything is ready I add sauce to the top and shredded mozzarella cheese. This just makes everything perfect. I also add a little olive oil and seasoning before placing in the oven. It adds a little color and browning to the entire dish.

If you’re interested in getting more details about this recipe, let me know in the comments section below. I’ll be glad to give you some direction.

Ciao,

Mark, Patti, Lisa, & Andrew

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