Several Christmas’s ago my mom gifted my sisters and me with a leather journal full of family blessings and treasured recipes. It is a sacred heirloom. The book opens with a quote by the French artist, Paul Gauguin: “No mean woman can cook well, for it calls for a light head, a generous spirit, and a large heart.” Inside are some of my favorite recipes from my mom’s beef stew, my grandmother’s famous Thanksgiving cornbread dressing, a yummy South Carolina cheese grits, and the perfect vanilla pound cake. During these cold, wintery months, I love to make her Italian lasagna. I usually make two and save one for a later date. This week, I am hosting thirteen college boys on Spring Break and I will probably need six! Serve with a simple green salad of arugula, ribbons of Parmesan, olive oil, squeeze of lemon, salt and pepper!
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 lg onion, chopped
- 1 small can of tomato paste
- 2 large cans of whole tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tsp Dried Oregano
- 1 tsp Dried Thyme
- 1 tsp Dried Basil
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp Brown sugar, maybe more after tasting
- 1/2 cup Parmesan
- 2 Eggs
- 3 cups Ricotta or Cottage Cheese
- 1 cup Fresh spinach, chopped
- 1 cup Fresh Italian parsley, chopped
- 1 pkg 10 oz Lasagna noodles, cooked
- 1 bag Shredded Mozarella
Saute onion in olive oil. Add ground meet.
In a separate pot, bring your salted water to boil and cook lasagna noodles al dente.
Add tomato paste, dried herbs, salt and pepper, cans of tomatoes and brown sugar to onions and ground beef. Cook for 20 minutes. Turn off to cool.
In a separate mixing bowl, combine ricotta/cottage cheese, mozzarella, fresh spinach and parsley, two eggs, salt and pepper and Parmesan. Stir well.
In a large pyrex dish, or two medium size dishes, layer noodles, then cheese mixture, then sauce. Repeat layers. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with an arugula salad, shavings of Parmesan, olive oil, juice from one lemon, salt and pepper. Split a baguette. Rub interior with garlic, butter, and grated mozzarella cheese. Broil in oven.