Okay... I'm out of excuses. We'd finished the turkey leftovers. It was time to tackle my new cookbook Entertaining with The Sopranos.
Where to start?
I hadn't made a lasagne in quite a while. Lasagne was a basic part of every big dinner at Ma's house. Ma's dinners came in courses - soup, salad, pasta, main course, dessert, fruit, nuts. There were a lot of people at Ma's table. When we ate, we ate. There was enough for everybody.
Lasagne is a nice filling casserole for two. Just the thing for a Winnipeg winter dinner.
Carmela's Lasagne, for the most part, was what I grew up with, except for Carmela's use of basil leaves. Her recipe called for a large bunch of fresh basil. Now, my Ma, Anna Sultana, might've made lasagne with lots of fresh basil when she lived in Malta. But, when I was growing up, we lived in College Point, a German Irish town. It was the 50s. Ma was stuck shopping at the local A & P - a small supermarket - after working a full week at Lily Tulip and raising 3 kids. Ma was a little busy. She made lasagne with what she found at the A & P - she used dried oregano and parsley.
Carmela's Meat Sauce also is a little more upscale than what Ma made. Ground beef sirloin? Hamburger was more Ma's style. My parents weren't both working full time for their health.
Time for a reality check.
I wanted to make a lasagne. Lasagne is basically macaroni and cheese with a meat sauce. My family liked Ma's recipe. I liked Ma's recipe. My husband Paul liked Ma's recipe for lasagne. I don't even know If we'd like all that basil. I'm not on a quest like Julie Powell was to recreate Julia Child's classic recipes. I just want to get back to my food roots, so to speak.
Okay... I'll use the Soprano book as a reminder of favorite recipes and as an introduction to a few new ones. When I have a perfectly good recipe - or can't be bothered hunting down obscure ingredients - I'll stick to what I know.
I made Ma's recipe for lasagne. Paul and I enjoyed it. It was a success.
Since lasagne required a meat sauce it was a two-for-one deal.
Two recipes down. Eighty-four more to go.