Italian Sausage and Beef Lasagna
Food that provides consolation or a feeling of well-being. Typically any with a high sugar or other carbohydrate content and associated with childhood or home cooking.
Regardless of what you consider your comfort food to be, the concept itself is timeless. Certain foods promise solace as much as they do nutrition. It's the feeling of the soul being soothed and I for one am all in for some soul soothing every now and again.
So Lestat was probably about 10 years old which would have made Basquiat 6 years old. I had run out of money...again. An out of work actress literally just working to pay the sitter. Nightmares of the single mom doing it alone. I promised the boys a fun day out in LA but when I woke up and checked the bank account it was in the negative digits. There is something about lying in your bed alone knowing that these two little men are counting on you for everything and I felt like I couldn't do it. Terrified. I didn't want to let them down. Nevertheless I got up, took a hot shower, got myself together and prepared to face the day. I had maybe 1/4 tank of gas in the car and that's all folks! I figured I'd at least go check the mail to see if on the off chance there was a surprise residual check waiting for me. An old commercial that started running? Anything. When I opened the door I found that it was raining. Not pouring. Just a slight drizzle. I concluded that it was God's way of telling me to just stay my butt inside today. The boys would never know it was because I had no money and all would be right in the world again. I was saved. I was blessed. Although I didn't have a red cent to rub together as my mother would say and all of my bills were passed due, I had a few simple ingredients in my pantry and fridge. I thought...ok...we can do this.
I started preparing the meat sauce and within a few minutes, almost on cue, it started really raining. Heavy. Not sure if it was the thunder or the aroma that filled our tiny apartment that woke the boys up... but they were up. They were sad about not being able to go out and spend the day at the zoo or wherever I had promised them, but thankfully, they could blame it on the rain. We sat cuddled up watching movies while the lasagna baked to a cheesy bubble. Happy. Blessed. That night my little men ate like kings and things just felt...better. I hope you enjoy.
1 lb of Dried Lasagna Sheets
6 to 7 cups of Meat Sauce
2 lbs Whole Milk Ricotta
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 cup Freshly Grated Parmiggiano Reggiano
12 Ounces of Fresh Mozzarella shredded
2 Tbsp Basil Pesto
1 Bunch of Fresh Basil
For the Meat Sauce:
3 Gloves Garlic finely chopped
1 Medium Onion
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 lb Ground beef Sirloin
1 lb Sweet Italian Sausage
Salt and Pepper to taste
3 Tbsp Dried oregano
1 cup Red wine (anything you would drink)
3 (28 oz) Cans of Tomato Puree
1) In a large saucepan cook the onion with the olive oil over medium heat, until soft and translucent about 5 minutes. Add the garlic. Cook for about 1 minute.
2) Stir in the sausage and ground beef, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Cook until the meat is just about cooked through. Add the wine and cook for 1 minute.
3) Add the tomato puree and if the tomato puree is very thick add ½ cup of water. Add the oregano. Partially cover the pan, turn the heat down to medium low and cook for 4 hours checking on it every now and then and just giving it a stir.
4) After 4 hours, season with salt and pepper to taste and add the basil leaves partially tearing them as u add them in. Turn heat off and let sit for 10 minutes.
5) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Assembling the Lasagna:
6) Cook the lasagna noodles only for 4 or 5 minutes not cooking them all the way though but just enough so that they are pliable.
7) In a large bowl mix together the ricotta, ½ cup of parmiggiano reggiano, the egg, and the basil pesto. Season lightly with salt and pepper
8) Oil a 13 by 9’ deep dish casserole dish. Spread a thin layer of meat sauce on the bottom of the casserole dish. Place a few sheets of lasagna noodles in the pan in a single layer overlapping slightly. Spread evenly with ¼ of the ricotta mixture, add about 1 cup or so of meat sauce and spread evenly. Arrange some slices of mozzarella and sprinkle with parmigiano reggiano.
9) Repeat step 8, 3 more times finishing with the mozzarella and parmigiano reggiano.
10) Bake for 1 hour or until the top is golden brown and the lasagna is bubbly at the bottom. Enjoy!