Without a doubt, traditional lasagna is among my top 10 favorite foods. I mean, it’s what I would request for my last meal. Of course, I’d also have to have lobster tails, prime rib, Nonna’s Chicken Meatball Soup, Mom’s Spinach Pie, artichokes and Blueberry Pie with Sugar Cookie Crust. But who sits around thinking of such things? Oh, wait, I forgot to add Nonna’s Batter-Fried Zucchini…
Anyway, I was happy to have the excuse to make my favorite dish over the weekend, thanks to my daughter. She requested that I serve it at the dinner we hosted for her and her friends before their dance.
This traditional lasagna is stacked high, with three full layers of pasta filled with sauce, ricotta, Romano-accented ground beef that’s mixed as if for meatballs, then plenty of mozzarella and Parmesan. Finally, one last layer of pasta gets added, topped with a sprinkling of more cheese and some sauce. It’s decadent and delicious, and I’m thinking I’d better postpone my cholesterol blood work until next week, if you know what I mean.
While no-boil lasagna is super convenient, I really prefer the thicker, sturdier texture of the traditional kind that you boil. Adding olive oil to the pot of water helps prevent sticking. And the most important trick to keeping any baked pasta al dente is to boil it for just under half the cooking time listed on the package, because the oven will take care of the rest. (I used the Barilla brand, and I just needed to boil it for four minutes.)
Finally, it might be helpful for me to address the Question of the Day when making lasagna for company: How much should you make? Well, if we start with the sauce, you’ll need lots. Figure on using three, 28-ounce cans of tomatoes in your homemade sauce per pound of lasagna. I made several batches of my Homemade Marinara Sauce, but this Pork-Rib Tomato Sauce is excellent if you want to go with more meat flavor in your meal.
Then, I firmly believe that you never want to skimp on lasagna portions, regardless of what else you’re serving. Some people (cough, cough) will have seconds of lasagna and forgo whatever else is on the menu. To be prepared, it’s good to estimate that a 9×13 pan (made with one pound of pasta sheets) will serve six people. I cut my servings into eight, roughly 3 x 2.5-inch pieces, and some people will start with just one, while others will ask for two up front. Plus, leftover lasagna is never a bad thing and won’t go to waste, especially around here.
Do you love lasagna like I do? What would you want for your last meal?
(Recipe Source: Adapted from my Mom’s lasagna)