Since the Italian-American food in northeast Ohio is so darn yummy, I thought I'd make an attempt at replicating two of the all-time classics. I think I did a darn good job!
Cari's Classic Lasaaahgna
1 pound dried lasagna noodles, cooked until almost al dente
5 cups Epic Tomato Gravy
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 pound sweet Italian sausage
1 can tomato paste
Fresh basil. chopped
10 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 container ricotta cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 bunch parsley, chopped
Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper
2 pounds mozzarella cheese, grated
2 pounds provolone cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in medium saute pan until hot. Saute chopped onions until tender, about 7 minutes, then add hot pepper flakes. Remove sausage from casings and add to pan, sauteeing over medium heat until no longer pink. Once sausage is cooked, add tomato paste and basil and mix well.
In a separate skillet, heat remaining 1 tbsp olive until almost smoking. Add sliced mushrooms and thyme and cook, stirring only once, until mushrooms have released their liquid and are caramelized.
In a medium bowl, mix ricotta cheese, beaten egg, parsley, and parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
Assemble the lasaaahgna: Place 1/4 of the Epic Tomato Gravy in the bottom of a large, deep dish lasagna pan. Top with a layer of cooked noodles, slightly overlapping the edges of the noodles. Next, add 1/2 of the sausage followed by 1/2 of the ricotta mixture. Top the ricotta with 1/3 of the grated mozzarella and provolone. Continue one more set of gravy, noodles, sausage, ricotta and cheese layers. On top of this layer of cheese place the sauteed mushrooms. Finish the lasagna with more gravy, a last layer of noodles topped with a thin layer of gravy, and finally topped with the remainder of the provolone and mozzarella cheeses.
Set the lasagna on a baking sheet to catch any spillovers and bake approximately 1 hour, or until lasagna is hot and bubbly around the edges and cheese is beginning to brown. Serve with a green salad, baguette, and greens.
1/2 cup diced bacon
1/2 cup diced onion
2 tbsp minced garlic
Pinch red pepper flakes
2 pounds collard or mustard greens (or any combination of greens you like)
3 cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese, for serving
In a large Dutch oven, saute bacon until crisp. Add diced onion and cook until tender. Towards the end of cooking onion, add garlic and red pepper flakes. Wash greens thoroughly and cut out any tough stems. Rip greens into pot and stir until greens have wilted. Pour chicken stock over greens, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, until greens are tender and most of chicken broth has evaporated.
Serve greens with grated parmesan cheese.Playing with food is fun.