This past Saturday we had us a dinner with friends. I was looking forward to this ALL week! We got some tomatoes from Russ’s Garden that James canned and they gave them to me a while back and asked me to make something with them. SO I decided to make lasagna! The tomatoes from the Garden are Uncle Nino and my most fav tomatoes EVER San Marzano tomatoes!
So I invited Russ and James (of course) and Matt and Anisa. YAY! I LOVE to have friends over to cook for. If I could do it every weekend I would… heck why not a couple of times during the week too!
That is my happy place being in the kitchen for hours cooking for people I care about. I’m not so good with words, so I show them my love through my food. You can taste the love and you know they can taste it because they make sounds like mmmmmmmmm, and Oooooh and they make faces like this: (Think Russ likes the sauce)
Whenever Russ comes to dinner, he tells me This is the best thing I’ve ever eaten since the last time I was here!
This Lasagna took me 9 hours to make, yes 9 hours! I am calling it my 9 hour lasagna. So you KNOW its good! I started with the Bolognese sauce, I will have to do this recipe in 3 posts as I start with the Bolognese sauce, and the lasagna and garlic bread, I also made Crème brûlée for the 1ST time and James made a fabulous Cesar Salad with home croutons that I wanted to share with you all (with his permission of course) so the next few posts will make your mouth water, so be ready!
So I woke up Saturday all excited to COOK! (most would say what is wrong with this chic?) Yes I get excited to cook. When I know I am getting ready to cook a big meal for people, I dream about it and I wake up so excited the next morning.
So I started with the sauce and I started it about 11AM. So first things first when cooking you must get all the ingredients together for your recipe:
pour yourself a glass of wine…doesn’t matter that its 11AM or 9AM. It’s like how the song goes, It’s 5 O’Clock somewhere…it’s OK! I won’t judge you!
4 oz pancetta, chopped into chunks
2 medium yellow onions (chopped)
4-5 stalks celery (chopped) (I add in leaves too, lots of flavor there, don’t worry they will be blended up later)
2 large carrots (chopped)
4-6 cloves garlic (minced) (I used 6 of course as I LOVE garlic)
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb lean ground beef
1/2-3/4 lb ground HOT Italian Pork (you need SOME kick in this)
1 cup dry white wine
1 (28 ounce) can italian style crushed tomatoes (or other)
2 large jars whole plum tomatoes, 1 small jar canned plum tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon oregano
1 cup red wine
1 can beef broth/stock
red pepper flakes, to taste
1 cup milk (I use 2%)
In a Dutch Oven or Medium Size Pot, heat butter and olive oil
over medium heat until butter begins to froth.
Add onions, celery, carrots,
Cook until onions are translucent (about 8 to 10 minutes). Then add Garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until you smell the garlic, do over cook garlic, as it becomes bitter.
start a 2nd pan/skillet turn up to med high heat, once heated add Ground beef, add salt and pepper to taste and
then add ground Pork, and cook until meat loses red, raw color.
Once meat is cooked drain the grease and juices with a colander. While thats draining add to the Onions, Celery and Carrots the can crushed tomatoes and bring to a boil.
stir, and then bring out your hand blender and blend everything until it is smooth, should be no chunks
Then open the home canned jar of tomatoes (if you don’t have home canned, just use three large canned, whole tomatoes, and one small can tomato chunks) preferably San Marzano Tomatoes
1st add the small jar to the sauce
liquid and all
then add cooked, drained beef and sausage, stir
In the pan that you cooked the beef and sausage in reheat to med heat and add the chopped Pancetta too
cook until crisp and browned
then add 1 cup of white wine to pancetta
Yes I know very strange to add the wine to the pancetta, Well I forgot to add it to the beef when I was cooking it, so I needed to add it to some kind of meat, so thought the pancetta was just as good. (and there was no way I wasn’t adding the wine to the sauce)
Cook wine and pancetta for 5-7 minutes stirring a few times
while the pancetta is cooking add oregano, salt, pepper, to the tomato sauce, then add pancetta and white wine
then add in the other 2 large jars of canned tomatoes
then add red pepper flakes
bring pot up to a boil, then add beef broth and then red wine
at this point the pot is too darn full and you may need to add some to another pot so you don’t have a big mess
Once the mixture comes to a boil again, return to simmer.
Let sauce simmer (very slowly) partially covered for about 2 to 4 hours (the longer the better), stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
About 5 to 10 minutes before serving, add milk.
Remaining sauce may be frozen for up to two months for future use.
To assemble your lasagna preheat oven to 350 then start by boiling lasagana noodles as instructed on the box
get a big glass baking dish and start by layering the bottom of the dish with noodles, I actually do a little sauce first so the noodles don’t stick to the dish, then add noodles then cheese. My lasagna calls for 4 types of cheese:
Ricotta – I add the 2 15oz containers of Ricotta to a bowl and 2 eggs, 1 tablespoon of Italian Seasonings, salt and pepper and garlic salt to taste and then mix
Fresh mozzarella Cheese, sliced thinly
Pecorino Romano, grated finely
So I learned the hard way to start with the ricotta on the noodles as it sticks really good, then do the meat sauce. First time I did meat sauce then I did the ricotta, didn’t work as good. So Noodles, ricotta, meat sauce, Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano,
So do thin layers, as the first layer I did I piled on the meat sauce and its best to do a thin layer and spread it out so you can get more layers of cheese and noodles. (also known as goodness)
after an hour this is what you get:
when you take the lasagna out of the oven, I would let it cool for 15-20 minutes. I let mine cool 15 minutes and it was still HOT!
The lasagna has so much cheese that it didn’t stay together to well
So where do I get the 9 hours from, well I started it at 11AM and it didn’t finish cooking till 8PM. Between all the prep, chopping, dicing, pouring, stirring, sauteing, cooking, simmering, baking, cooling. This bad boy takes 9 hours…Trust me so worth the time and effort! Your friends will love you! Your feet will hate you! But SO worth it! (To me)!