Saturday, December 28, 2013

Happy New Year!

A brand new year, 2014, is just around the corner.  
I'd like to thank everyone who has visited since I started in 2009.  
I hope visiting I'm Turning 60... has been helpful and enjoyable for you.

I'd like to make my blog better, and for that I need your help.

Could you please post a comment on what types of recipes and posts you'd like.
Also I'd like to know what you don't want to read about.
Just click on 'comments' below and jot a few thoughts.
No postage involved.

Thank you for visiting and for your input…

Now on to 2014!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Wishing you all the blessings of the season...

Wishing you a Christmas filled with all you hold dear
and a New Year filled with all the best!
Thank you for visiting!!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Carmela Soprano's Stuffed Mushrooms

The holiday season is in full swing.
Yes, I know, the past weeks just flew.
Unfortunately your company's appetites didn't fly away, too.
Okay… time to fill their tummies with bread cumbs.

from Entertaining with the Sopranos.

I also quoted what Hugh Jackman had said in Kate & Leopold...
In a perfect world meals are the result of study and reflection.  
Without the culinary arts, existence would be unbearable.
And sometimes meals are a result of scanning the flyers.

About the mushrooms:
Some cooks could just take the suggestions and run with it.
And some cooks want measurements.
Alrighty, then, here they are.


Carmela said to wash the mushrooms under running water.  
I prefer wiping them with a damp cloth so they won't get mushy.  

                        Stuffed Mushrooms

Serves 12

Preheat the oven to 400º

Oil 1 or 2 baking pans to hold the mushrooms in a single layer.

36 large cremini or white mushrooms (2 1/2 pounds)
Snap off the stems and set them aside.
Arrange the mushroom caps upside down in the prepared pans.
Trim off the ends of the stems.
Chop the stems and place them in a bowl.

Add to the chopped stems
1 1/2 Cups plain dry bread crumbs
1/2 Cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper to taste
Stir in
1/2 Cup olive oil

Spoon the crumb mixture into the caps
Bake for 20 minutes or until tender.
Serve hot.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Grinch, St. Nicholas and Moonlight Upon the Snow by Margaret Ullrich

Tonight is Full Moon number twelve for 2013.
The last one for the year.
No, we did not get a blue moon this year.
No problem… I don't think anyone missed it.

Here in Manitoba, witnessing a full moon during winter is a mystical experience.
Add the occasional Northern Lights and it can be a once-in-a-lifetime moment.
When viewed through a frosted window, the night scene is truly magical.
Our nights in Manitoba are extra long - it's dark by 5:30 p.m.
The sun doesn't appear until about 8:30 a.m. - fifteen hours later.
That gives us plenty of time to enjoy the play of twinkling lights upon the glistening snow's surface.

Clement Clarke Moore - the author of the poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas" (also known 
as "'Twas the Night Before Christmas") would have loved winters in Manitoba.
As he had written in the poem:

Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow,
Gave the luster of mid-day to objects below…

The luster of mid-day combined with the peace of of an extended mid-night.
Perfect conditions for humming Silent Night.

Moore had a reputation as a serious, learned professor.
He had written "A Visit from St. Nicholas" for his children's amusement.
At first he did not wish to be publicly connected with the family oriented verse.
He allowed it to be included in an anthology at the insistence of his children.
As children they had recognized a good story when they'd heard it.

Another Christmas classic, Dr. Seuss' "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!", has the Grinch, the villain with the heart two sizes too small, realizing
Maybe Christmas, he thought, means a little bit more. 
after seeing that Christmas is more than presents and feasting.

Theodor Seuss Geisel, known as Dr. Seuss, didn't try to teach kids morals.
He was not against writing about issues; he'd said that he was "subversive as hell."
But he also wisely said, "Kids can see a moral coming a mile off." 
He was talented enough, and smart enough, to not let a lesson ruin a good story.

Writing is a funny business, with a pecking order as to what is respectable.
Literary poetry and novels are considered to be the height of the art.
There are quite a few major prizes awarded to literary writers.
There are also government grants given for literary projects.
I know about the government grants because I was awarded a couple.
And I was very grateful to receive them.

For some reason most literary work doesn't have the appeal of lowbrow writings.
Organizations and governments feel duty bound to support literary writers.
Commercial writers settle for paying their bills and living a comfortable life.

A few poets I know have told me that, while their art is considered the ultimate form of writing, they  usually have to write genre - mysteries in particular - to make a living.
Genre sells, poetry doesn't.
Most people know a good story when they've read it.

It's absolutely true that kids can see a moral coming.
In the 80s and 90s I had volunteered in my son's schools' libraries.
During that time R. L. Stine was the equivalent of J. K. Rowling.
Kids came in pairs - one to return a book, with a friend ready to borrow it.

"A Visit from St. Nicholas" was written for the author's children.
"How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" was not intended to teach a moral.
They weren't written to win Pulitzer Prizes.
No problem… Moore, Dr. Seuss and their millions of readers didn't miss it.

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

According to the folks at
December 17: Full Moon in Gemini
Just when you thought life might calm down, this information-loaded full Moon also sees Uranus turn retrograde, bringing unexpected news that will prompt you to take a second look at your plans. 
Although you may feel overwhelmed by the rapid pace of this week, it can also move you out of situations that have become stale or outmoded. 
People are extra-emotional now, and much of what they say is contradictory. 
What should you do? 
Slow down and carefully review all your scraps of data. 
Once you see the whole picture for what it is, you'll know what to do. 
Until then, don't overreact!

So, in other words, relax, review and have another cookie.
And maybe start making some New Year's resolutions.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Carmela Soprano's Neapolitan Crostini l Melon and Prosciutto

Not all of Carmela's recipes are as difficult as Carmela Soprano's Baci Cake.
Here are two real quickies from the book Entertaining with the Sopranos.
Actually they barely qualify as recipes.
But they published the Crostini - with a picture - in the Welcome to the Family chapter.
The Melon and Prosciutto - also with a picture -  was in the Dinner for Twelve chapter.
Go figure.

But some people like measurements when trying something new.
And they are handy recipes to have before the holiday season.

These recipes are perfect as appetizers, or as something light to snack on while watching the ball drop in Times Square on New Year's Eve.
I mean, after a certain age, how many potato chips can one eat?


I left the anchovies out of Paul's Crostini.  He doesn't like them.

                        Neapolitan Crostini

Serves 6

In a medium bowl place
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Cut in half through the core
2 ripe medium tomatoes (Carmela used New Jersey beefsteaks)
Squeeze gently to extract the seeds and juice.
Trim away the core.
Chop the tomatoes into 1/2-inch pieces and toss them in the seasoned oregano.

Preheat the oven to 450º
Oil a large baking pan

Arrange on the baking pan
12 thin slices Italian bread (Carmela used semolina bread)
Toast the bread 5 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven, but keep the oven turned ON.

Cover each slice of bread with 1 slice and 1 anchovy each from
8 ounces fresh mozzarella
12 anchovy fillets
Spoon a few of the seasoned tomato pieces over each slice of bread.
Drizzle each slice with a few drops of
Extra virgin olive oil

Return the pan to the oven and bake 5 to 7 minutes.
When the cheese is slightly melted, remove from the oven and serve.

                        Melon and Prosciutto

Serves 12 (2 melon slices each serving)

Cut into 12 slices each
2 large cantaloupes or small honeydews, chilled
Scoop out the seeds and cut off the skin.
Place 2 slices on each serving plate.

Drape 2 or 3 paper-thin slices from
12 ounces Italian Prosciutto (Carmela used Prosciutto di Parma)
over each pair of melon slices.
Sprinkle with 
freshly ground pepper 
Garnish with 
a lemon or lime wedge on each plate

And let the countdown begin!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Would Santa Ever Find Me? by Margaret Ullrich

In 2004 I wrote a story and read it on the CKUW radio show '2000 & Counting - Older & Wiser'.  For a while it was an annual tradition.  I got a few emails asking if I could post it.  Here is a  short version.  
This is a busy time...   Merry Christmas!

     When I was a baby my family moved from Malta to America.  Pop's brother and sister were in Corona.  So, we had to live there, too.  

     In Corona everyone spoke Italian.   The stores had Italian food.  Corona was where we learned how to be Americans.  

     Nonni’s children had married Pop's brother and sister.  On Christmas Eve we gathered at her home.  Her manger scene had everything and filled a whole corner of her living room.  Each year Nonni added something: a woman carrying a basket of eggs, a farmer carrying a cabbage, a man carrying a bundle of wood. 

     Christmas Eve Dinner was a feast, with eel for the parents, and fish for us.  There was also a ricotta pie, biscotti, strufoli, chestnuts and torrone.  My favourite was the mound of strufoli: tiny doughnuts covered with honey and sprinkles.  After dinner we would play games until it was time to walk to church. The evening ended with panettone, bread made with butter, raisins, almonds and citron. 

     Christmas Eve was wonderful.  But the big day was January sixth.  We would hang our socks and wait for La Befana to give us toys.  

     La Befana was an old lady who had been sweeping her house when the Wise Men knocked on her door.  They invited La Befana to join them, but she refused, saying she was busy.  That night a light and angels appeared in the sky.  La Befana realized something special was happening.  She could not find the Wise Men.  Every year she searches and leaves presents for good little boys and girls.  

     La Befana had taken care of me for four years.  Then we moved to College Point to be closer to Pop’s job.  Soon it was time for my sister to be born.  While Ma was in the hospital I stayed with Nonni.  The next day, Nonni took me to the store and gave me a quarter.  
     "Buy for sister."   
     I liked westerns on television, so I grabbed a toy gun.  
     "No.  A rattle."  
     A rattle?  That was boring, but I bought a pink plastic rattle.  

     Children were not allowed to visit in the hospital.  When Nonni visited Ma, she gave the rattle to my sister.  I was outside and waved to the window of Ma's room.  When Nonni returned she had a gift from my sister for me: three pieces of chocolate. 
     Well, wasn't that nice of her. 

     After Rose was born it was easier to walk to the church in town.  I missed seeing my family.  Then I started kindergarten.  College Point had Irish and German families.  I started to learn about their America.  

     As Christmas got closer the windows of the German bakeries filled with the most beautiful cookies I had ever seen: stars, angels, animals and wreaths, decorated with coconut, jam, icing and tiny silver balls.  My friends brought in their mothers' baking.  I thought a German Christmas was delicious.  The stollen reminded me of panettone.  I brought some biscotti.  My friends tasted the dry bread and smiled.

     We helped Sister decorate the Christmas tree with cookies.  Then Sister told us to gather around to hear a story.  She showed us the picture of Santa Claus and his reindeer.  My friends were delighted. 

     I was confused.  

     I had never heard of Santa, who slid down the chimney and landed in the fireplace.  We didn't have a fireplace.  We had a big oil burning furnace in the basement.  Ma hung all the laundry on a rope near it.  It made awful noises and had a fire in it.  If Santa landed in the furnace he would fry like a strufoli.  That could end Christmas for everybody.  I didn't think Santa would take such a risk for a stranger.  The cookies felt like rocks in my stomach.

     Sister said Santa had a list of good girls and boys.  Since I wasn't a citizen I was on the Registered Aliens list.  Could Santa get my name from that list? 

     We were told to put our letters to Santa in the special mailbox.  A letter?  What language did Santa speak?  He had never heard from me.  What could I say?  "Hi, you don't know me, but I'd like some toys."  

    If La Befana tried to come to College Point to give me toys, would Santa shoot her? 
    Sister had said to tell God, who took care of everything, what we needed.  My Pop was always busy.  I just knew that this God would not have time for me.  I needed a Grandma.

     I told Nonni about Santa and the new rules for Christmas. 
     She repeated, "Santa Claus.  a letter." 
     I nodded.  
     Nonni  smiled.
     "I fix.  I write to Befana.  She give to Santa.  Christmas come." 

     I could not believe her.  Maybe nobody ever had to change to Santa Claus.  Maybe I had lost Christmas forever.

     On Christmas Eve we gathered at Nonni’s.  After dinner we went to Mass.  Everything was the same.  I wished we could have stayed there.  

     When we left the church I saw a pale cloud.  It was long and thin, with a lump on one end.  I kept looking at it as it followed us to Nonni’s house. 

     From the car I watched the cloud follow us to College Point. 
     Did clouds always follow people?  Was it really a cloud?  Sister had said that Santa had helpers called elves.  Could it have been an elf taking the letter to Santa?

     On Christmas morning Ma was cleaning my sister.  Ma told me to get dry diapers.  I went down to the basement and pulled down two.  Then I noticed lumps by the furnace.  I thought they were clothes and went to put them back on the line.  

     But they weren't clothes.  
     They were boxes.  
     They were wrapped.  
     They were presents!  
     They were for me!!

     Santa had found me. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Carmela Soprano's Baked Ziti In Bianco and Bechamel Sauce

In February, 2010 I compared Carmela Soprano's Baked Ziti In Bianco to Ma's Timpana.
Only a fool would think they are just plates of pasta.
We're talking about respect must be paid, iconic pasta dinners.

Christmas is coming.
If you haven't decided on a main course, this could be it.
Or, at the very least, a first course.

As I had written in 2010:
For anyone who ever saw the series, Carmela's Ziti was the stuff of legend. In the first season, cute little A.J. said his first televised cuss word because he was worried he wasn't going to get his mother's Ziti. 
Oh, how quickly they grow up. 
Whenever there was a problem, out came the Ziti. 

This past summer I gave the recipe for Ma's Timpana.
I'm very overdue in doing the same for Baked Ziti In Bianco.
For that I'm sorry.  Here it is.


The Bechamel Sauce can be made a day in advance.

Al dente means firm to the bite.
You want the pasta a little under done so it will not get mushy when it's baked.

For the ziti you'll need a total of:
6 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2 -inch cubes
6 ounces smoked mozzarella, cut into 1/2 -inch cubes
4 ounces thick-sliced boiled ham, cut into narrow strips
1/2 Cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (Parmesan)

                              Bechamel Sauce 

Makes 4 Cups

Heat in a medium saucepan
4 Cups milk
Heat until small bubbles form around the edges.

Melt in a large saucepan over medium-low heat
4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
Add, stirring well
1/4 Cup flour
Cook, stirring, 2 minutes.

Very slowly, stirring constantly, add the milk to the flour/butter mixture.
Don't panic!  It'll look lumpy, but it will smooth out.

After all the milk has been added, Add
pinch of grated nutmeg
salt and WHITE pepper to taste

Raise the heat to medium and simmer 2 minutes.
Remove from heat.

Pour into a bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface.
This prevents a skin from forming.
The sauce can be chilled and stored up to 24 hours in advance.

                              Baked Ziti In Bianco

Serves 8 to 12

In a large pot, bring at least 4 quarts of water to a boil.
1 pound ziti
Salt to taste
Cook, stirring frequently, until the ziti is al dente.
Drain the ziti and put it in a large bowl. 
Toss ziti with 
4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Grease an 11 1/2 x 8 1/2 x 2-inch baking dish.

Spoon a thin layer of Bechamel Sauce into the baking dish. 
* Make a layer of 1/3 of the ziti in the baking dish. 
Sprinkle with
1/3 of the fresh and smoked mozzarella and ham 
2 Tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (Parmesan)

Repeat from * two more times.
Spoon the remaining Bechamel Sauce into the baking dish.  
Sprinkle with
the remaining grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (Parmesan)

The ziti can be refrigerated for several hours at this point. 
Remove from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before baking.
Bake the ziti, uncovered, for 40 minutes. 
The sauce should be bubbling and the top lightly browned.
Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Want a little variety?
Try Carmela's Baked Ziti with Tiny Meatballs or 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Anna Sultana's Spaghetti Pie and Pasta with Butter and Ricotta, Maltese Style

But then, Ma's recipe for Spaghetti Pie is better than Carmela's.
What can I say - win a few, lose a few.

I had posted a recipe for Ma's Spaghetti Pie - Froġa tat-Tarja - a few months ago.
Of course, she had another recipe.. or two... for vermicelli.
And here are a couple of them.
Try them both.

Ma's recipes are healthier than Carmela's, too.
And that's a good thing.
What you save from not buying soppressata and prosciutto, spend on some wine.
And that's also a good thing.

Hints for the Froġa:

Vermicelli is the traditional pasta used.
But, if you have spaghetti or spaghettini, no problem.
Just adjust the boiling time for the pasta.

Before cooking find a plate or pizza pan that can cover the surface of the frying pan.
When the eggs have set you'll cover the pan and flip the omelette onto the plate.
Then you'll slide it back into the frying pan so the other side can brown a bit.
If that worries you, no problem.
Just cut into the pie with a large, heat-proof spatula and turn over the sections.

                        Froġa tat-Tarja

Serves 2 to 4

In a large pot place
4 quarts water
salt to taste
Bring to a boil.
1 pound vermicelli
Cook, stirring frequently, until the pasta is al dente.
Drain the pasta well and place it in a large bowl.

Lightly beat
3 large eggs
2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Pour the egg mixture over the pasta and mix well.

Heat in a large skillet pan over medium high heat
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Pour the pasta into the pan.
When it has set, turn the Froġa and cook the other side until it is lightly browned.
Serve immediately with a sprinkling of parsley.

                        Pasta with Butter and Ricotta

Serves 2 to 4

In a large pot place
4 quarts water
salt to taste
Bring to a boil.
1 pound vermicelli
Cook, stirring frequently, until the pasta is al dente.
Drain the pasta well and place it in a warmed large bowl.

Stir in
1 pound ricotta
1/4 pound grated Parmesan cheese, more or less
1/4 pound butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Sprinkle over the pasta
2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
Serve immediately.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Carmela Soprano's Spaghetti Pie

Back in 2010, in that second post, I also compared a second recipe.
Like I said, I was a beginner and, in addition to being snide, I wasn't pacing myself.
Okay… now I know better - one recipe per post.
Less risk of getting lost in all the directions, too.

Carmela's recipe for Spaghetti Pie in Entertaining with The Sopranos is a little pricey.
Like she's trying to prove they have the bucks.
When Ma made Spaghetti Pie it was either Friday or time to pay the heating oil bill.

Ma's recipe is also safer for folks watching their cholesterol intake and blood pressure.
Carmela said, You will not need salt, because the meats and cheeses are salty.
You've been warned.


Carmela's recipe calls for spaghetti or bucatini.
Personally I can't see the bucatini, which is thick pasta.
Ma would've used vermicelli.
Use what you have.
Just adjust the boiling time for the pasta.

                        Spaghetti Pie

Serves 8

In a large pot place
4 quarts water
salt to taste
Bring to a boil.
1 pound spaghetti or bucatini
Cook, stirring frequently, until the pasta is al dente.
Drain the pasta well and place it in a large bowl.

In a large bowl, lightly beat
8 large eggs
1/2 cup of Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano
freshly ground pepper to taste

the cooked pasta
2 ounces sliced Genoa salami or soppressata, chopped
2 ounces sliced prosciutto or boiled ham, chopped
Toss well.

Heat in 10-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Pour half of the pasta mixture into the pan.
Scatter over the pasta
4 ounces of provolone, chopped
Pour the remaining pasta mixture into the pan.

Turn the heat to medium low.
Cover the pan and cook 5 minutes.
Slide a spatula under the pie and lift it gently under the edges 
so the uncooked eggs can slide underneath.
Cover the pan and cook 10 minutes.
The eggs should be almost set and the bottom lightly browned.

Meanwhile, preheat the broiler.
Place the skillet under the broiler to brown the top (about 3 to 5 minutes).
Slide a spatula under the pie to loosen it.
Tilt the pan near a serving platter and slip the pie onto the platter.
Cut into wedges.
Serve hot or at room temperature.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Carmela's Crunchy Baked Chicken

Alrighty, then… glad to see you liked the lasagne recipes.
Lasagne is also great to add a bit of heft to the Christmas and New Year's Eve menus.
When Ma had the gang over, she served lasagne as a second course, after the soup.
That made the turkey go further and left a bit of the bird for the following week.

Now let's go on to the second post I did comparing Carmela Soprano's and Ma's recipes.
I made Carmela's Crunchy Baked Chicken from Entertaining with The Sopranos.
It was probably the only time I preferred Carmela's recipe to Ma's.

As I had explained in 2010…
I loved my Ma's fried chicken. To eat, not to make. When I made it, grease flew all over me and the kitchen. And when I served it, well, some parts were burned and some parts were raw. Ma's fried chicken was a fond memory, never to be recreated by me.

Baking... No problem.  No muss.  No fuss.  No burned.  No raw.

Which is also good, come to think of it.


Carmela uses bread crumbs homemade from Italian bread.
Just so you know.
She also bought a whole chicken and cut it into 8 pieces and then skinned them.
Yeah, I know, tell me another one.

Ma made her crunchy chicken with Parmesan cheese.
So could you, if you prefer it.
She also would have bought parts and left the skin on.
The chicken is being dipped in oily bread crumbs.
This isn't totally a calorie counter's dream recipe.
Serve the chicken with a salad and figure you're even.

Carmela didn't mention lining the baking sheet with foil, but Ma would do that.
And so would I.

                        Crunchy Baked Chicken

Serves 4

In a shallow dish beat together
2 large eggs
1 Tablespoon water
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

On a piece of wax paper combine
2 Cups plain dry bread crumbs
1/2 Cup grated Romano cheese
Drizzle with
1/4 Cup olive oil
Stir until blended.

Place out a few racks (the ones you use to cool cookies).
Line a large baking pan with foil and oil the surface.

Dip in the egg mixture
3 1/2 pounds chicken pieces, skinned
Then roll the chicken pieces in the crumb mixture, patting so the crumbs stick.
Be sure to cover all surfaces.
Place the chicken on the rack to let the coating dry 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400º
Place the chicken pieces in a single layer on the baking sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Using tongs, gently and very carefully turn the pieces.
Bake for another 20 minutes.
The chicken should be browned and cooked through.
Serve hot or at room temperature.

As this recipe is easier, I won't post Ma's recipe for Fried Chicken.
If you have a knack for frying, you know what to do.

I admit it - I definitely don't.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Anna Sultana's Lasagne, Maltese Style

Okay.. you now have two versions of Carmela's Lasagne:
Hope you enjoyed them both.
I also hope the recipes don't discourage you from making Lasagne.
Really, there is a simpler - and cheaper - way to make it.

Like I said back in 2010…  
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.


If your family prefers all pork or all beef, no problem.
Or you can use different proportions, more or less.

The tomato sauce can be served immediately, or you can let it cool, cover it and refrigerate it for up to 3 days.  This sauce also freezes well.

Al dente means slightly undercooked.

The Lasagne recipe calls for 4 Cups of meat sauce.
Four cups leftover for another meal.  Bonus!!
Or you can serve it, heated, on the side, if someone wants his pasta saucy.

For the Lasagne recipe you'll need a total of 
3/4 Cup of grated Parmesan or Romano (or a combination) total
1 pound mozzarella cheese, thinly grated or sliced

                        Meat Sauce

Makes about 4 cups

Heat in a large heavy pot over medium heat
4 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Cup onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 7 minutes or until softened. 
1 pound ground beef (as lean as you can afford)
1 pound ground pork
Cook, stirring often to break the meat into bits, until it is nicely brown. 
If there is a lot of fat, spoon some out and discard it.

Stir in
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 28-ounce can tomatoes
2 6-ounce can tomato paste
Add about 1/4 Cup water to each can.
Rub the inside of the can with a spatula.
Add the liquid to the sauce.
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 bay leaves
Partially cover the pan.
Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally until the sauce has thickened, for about 2 hours.  
Remove bay leaf.


Serves 6 to 8

Fill a large bowl with cold water.

In a large pot place
4 quarts water
salt to taste
Bring to a boil.
1 pound dried lasagne
Cook, stirring frequently, until the pasta is al dente.
Drain the pasta into a colander and then place the pasta in the cold water.
Run your hands through the pasta to be sure the noodles are separated.
Drain the pasta into a colander.

In a bowl combine
1 pound ricotta
1/2 Cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper  

Have on hand for the filling
1/2 pound mozzarella cheese, thinly grated or sliced       

Lightly oil a 9 x 13 x 2" pan
Spread a thin layer of the sauce
* Make a layer of 1/3 of the pieces of pasta, overlapping the edges.
Spread on top of the pasta
1/3 of the ricotta mixture
1/3 of the mozzarella cheese
1/3 of the remaining sauce
Repeat from * 2 more times.

Sprinkle over the top
1/2 pound mozzarella cheese, thinly grated or sliced
1/4 Cup grated Parmesan cheese

(At this point you can cover tightly with foil and refrigerate,
as long as overnight.
Let the lasagne get to room temperature before baking.)

Place a rack in the centre of the oven.
Preheat oven to 350º  
Bake 30 minutes.
If it's browning too quickly, cover the top loosely with foil.
Bake another 15 minutes (longer if it had been refrigerated).
The sauce should be bubbling around the edges.
Remove from the oven and let sit 15 minutes.
Cut the lasagne into squares and serve with a wide spatula.

You could also place on the table a bowl of 
grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
In case someone likes it cheesy.

Serve with cooked vegetables or a salad.
Some crusty bread is nice, too.
There's always someone who like to spoon out some extra sauce to eat with the bread.

That's my Ma's way... Lasagne served The Maltese Way.