Monday, January 3, 2011

Layers of Love

Can you see how many times I've used this recipe?
Lasagna is one of those dishes that must have a million variations - an ability similar to the human being's capacity to experience love. There's the friendly love (think turkey in place of beef/pork and spinach taking the place of some of the cheese), the seductive love (an impressive b├ęchamel sauce layered between delicate sheets of gorgeous fresh pasta) and the hearty family love as evidenced by the recipe I ultimately went with: Meat Lover's Lasagna. When I initially saw this recipe in the NY Times a good number of years ago, it was a total affront to the health conscious recipe I had made in previous years. You know, the recipe that used ground turkey and turkey sausage, low fat cheese(s) and as many vegetables as I could hide incorporate.  I mean, this recipe opens with a half pound of pancetta, for Pete's sake!  There was something about this recipe, however, which intrigued me with its 4 kinds of meat and 3 types of cheese...what could be bad, right?  The ingredients are readily available and the butcher at Cardona's is always willing to chop the pancetta up for me into the small pieces required by the recipe.  Note: I've abandoned cooking the pasta prior to assembly - I find it much easier to build my lasagna with noodles which I can break into the size I want (I generally alternate the layers going north/south with the noodles and then east/west) and the pan gets tightly covered with foil allowing the noodles to almost steam cook.  If you're looking for a Saturday afternoon recipe to feed a crowd (the recipe says 8-10, I say pshaw - easily 12-14) or a meal to embrace you with meaty love - this could be your thing.  There's plenty of this love to go around.
ground beef, chopped parsley, cheese

meatballs dredged in flour, then fried in olive oil

simple tomato sauce prior to the addition of sausage and meatballs

the meat layer!  after frying and then simmering the sausage and meatballs,
the meat is removed from the sauce and coarsely chopped.

bubbly goodness - seriously somewhere between 4-5" deep

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