Monday, December 2, 2013

Carmela Soprano's Meat Sauce and Lasagne #2, with Basil Leaves

I've been writing this blog for over four years.
Long enough to know I didn't do a very good job at the beginning.

The recipes were familiar, more or less.
I did a rather quick job of comparing the differences between Carmela's and Ma's cooking styles, ingredients and budgets.
Well, the recipes were familiar to me but not to some of my readers.
And I was rather carefree when it came to giving ingredients and measurements.

But there's no time like the present to start correcting my mistakes.
Here is Carmela's recipe for Lasagne, with ingredients and measurements.

It's a little different from Carmela's Lasagne recipe which was posted December 5, 2012.
Well, as you know, Ma had variations on favourite recipes. too.
Read - and try - them both.
Well, not at the same time.


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 5 to 6 Cups of meat sauce.
Two 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 
1 Cup of grated Parmesan or Romano (or a combination) total
12 ounces mozzarella, thinly sliced

                        Meat Sauce

Makes about 8 cups

Remove the casings from
1/2 pound Italian-style plain or fennel pork sausages
Crumble the meat in a large bow.

Heat in a large heavy pot over medium heat
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 7 minutes or until softened. 
Stir in the crumbled sausage meat
1 pound beef sirloin, ground
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Cook, stirring often, until the meat is nicely brown. 
If there is a lot of fat, spoon some out and discard it.

35-ounce can Italian peeled tomatoes
28-ounce can tomato puree
Add about 1/2 Cup water to each can.
Rub the inside of the can with a spatula.
Add the liquid to the sauce.
Taste and add more salt and pepper, if needed.
Partially cover the pan.
Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally until the sauce has thickened, for about 1 1/2 hours.  

Stir in
6 fresh basil leaves, torn into bits
Cook for about 5 minutes.

                        Lasagne with Basil Leaves

Serves 8 to 10

Lay out lint-free towels (not terry cloth) on the table.
Fill a large bowl with cold water.

Have on hand
1 pound dried lasagne

In a large pot place
4 quarts water
salt to taste
Bring to a boil.
a few pieces of the lasagne
Cook, stirring frequently, until the pasta is al dente.
Using a sieve, scoop the pasta out and place it in the cold water.
When cool, place the pasta on the towels.
You can place the towels on top of each other.
Repeat with the remaining pasta.

In a bowl combine
2 pounds ricotta
Salt and freshly ground pepper         

Spread a thin layer of the sauce in a 9 x 13 x 2" pan
*Make a layer of 1/4 of the pieces of pasta, overlapping the edges.
Spread on top of the pasta
1/3 of the ricotta mixture
Sprinkle with 
2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan or Romano 
Scatter on top
1/3 of a large bunch basil leaves, rinsed and dried
1/3 of the mozzarella, thinly sliced
a thin layer of the sauce
Repeat from * 2 more times.

Top with
a final layer of pasta
the remaining sauce
the remaining grated 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 375ยบ  
Bake 45 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.

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

Some people are just like that.

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