Okay so there’s nothing really special about this lasagna other than that it’s really freakin’ amazing. Also, after years of lasagnas, I finally have a system down that makes them less of a pain in the rear to put together. I will definitely get to that goodness, but first I have a few things I want to chat with you guys about.
First of all, happy new year! I don’t know about you (and I would love to!), but 2013 was one heck of a year for me. Here’s the rundown:
- Grad-school auditions. Wow. Ended up taking the year off instead, but they sure knew how to kick off 2013!
- Moved in with Le Boyfriend. It was scary but so worth it!
- Had my degree recital at Eastman. I had to work my butt off, but I finally got through it feeling satisfied with the work I’d done and so grateful for Juliana, my lovely teacher, for putting up with the stress and the tears and sometimes just the weirdness that is me. Maybe someday I’ll get around to putting it up on YouTube and pointing you in that direction.
- Went on several road trips with Jerad (Ithaca, Pittsburgh, South Carolina, Boston many times, etc.) and loved every moment of them…well every moment we weren’t bickering over directions. I’m a bad navigator. Oops.
- Moved to Quincy, into a great place with a gas stove, which inspired me to finally start up a blog of everything food.
There were other wonderful and crazy things that happened in 2013, but those were some of the big ones. I know I slowed down with my posts towards the end of the year, but things are back in motion. Food is finally for fun, not just to eat.
Finally, before I get started on how to put this cheesy monster together, I would like to thank all my readers who made the Apartment Fried Rice post explode in the last few days. On Pinterest, it has now been re-pinned 100 times! I got to enjoy that OMG-I’m-so-popular feeling, and it’s all because of you. Thanks. Huggles!
Making a good lasagna is all about organization and resisting the urge to jump to the next step before you’re all set with the task at hand. Before I even touched any ingredients, I filled up my pasta pot with a bunch of salted water and set it on the stove. You don’t need to start the heat yet, unless you want your kitchen to be a sauna. It’s one thing you won’t have to worry about later.
Chop up a couple cloves of garlic, half of a large onion, and a few basil leaves. I had to just buy some from the store because winter (*cough* I’m a plant killer, even killed a peace lily, but we’ll go with winter *cough*) killed my basil plant.
Go ahead and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Throw your chopped onion in a big, heavy pot with a drizzle of olive oil and cook it until it starts to sweat. Then, add the garlic. I have a history of burning my garlic, so I always add it in later.
At this point, go ahead and turn the burner with your pasta water up to high. If you added as much water as I did, it’s going to take a while to boil.
Take two Italian sausages and slice just down one side of each. This is way easier than trying to squeeze the meat out of one end.
Go ahead. Yep…done? Okay, moving on.
Your water is probably boiling, so hurry up, put the lasagna noodles in there, and get your mind out of the gutter. Sheesh!
Throw the peeled sausages right in the pan with the garlic and onions and start breaking it up. Get it all brown and delicious.
Add a big can of diced or crushed tomatoes, a dollop of tomato paste, and the basil. Stir it all around and let it get yummy. Add salt and pepper.
At this point, your pasta is probably just about done.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine about a cup of ricotta, a handful of “sprinkle” cheese (parmesan, romano, or a mix will do just fine), salt, pepper, and an egg.
Get yourself set up in whatever way works best for you. Remember, organization is your friend.
I like to put a little sauce in the bottom of my pan so the pasta doesn’t stick.
From there, just layer pasta, sauce, ricotta mixture, and fresh (or whatever you have) mozzarella.
I need a moment for a mini rant before I continue. I recently watched the “Good Eats” episode about lasagna. As much as I love Alton Brown, I was appalled! Powdered goat milk?! Five hours in a crockpot! Sure, it’s nifty and might be neater, but I like lasagna that oozes cheese and sauce and is bubbly and hot. Also, it seemed incredibly complicated. Comfort food shouldn’t take so much brain power.
When you’re done layering, it should look something like this. I topped mine with some sauce, mozzarella, and sprinkle cheese.
After 20-30 minutes in the oven, it will look like this. When I look at this, I think of the episode of “How I Met Your Mother” where Ted goes on a date without researching the woman he’s meeting and his friends do all the looking for him. SWEET…MOTHER….OF GOD. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and dive in.
This glorious pan of carbs was our dinner on New Year’s Eve, accompanied by a delicious cocktail we found on the internet called spiced orange crunk punch. We also saved our champagne for mimosas the next morning and opted for a shot (Bailey’s for Jerad, Apfelkorn for me) when the ball finally dropped.
To bring the first post of 2014 to a close, I would like to shamelessly invite you to follow me on Instagram! In all seriousness, I post a lot of great food photos on there of things that don’t necessarily make it onto this corner of the internet, for example, sunlit pictures of eggs florentine with hollandaise enrobing my plate. SarahRogers09. Find me. I’m fun. Even if my username isn’t.