It only make sense, so let’s skip the pleasantries and get a little personal.
When I first started cooking, I mean really getting into it, my sister was a big influence on me. One of the first things we made together was lasagna. We would drink wine, put on tunes, and she taught me the things my parents taught her. It is amazing how life changing the little things can be; al dente noodles, tongue-tickling wines, and toe-tapping music.
So, really, what I’m gonna do with this one is post my spicy marinara recipe, and a basic lasagna recipe will follow.
- 2 Tbl. butter
- 1 med. onion, chopped
- 1 jalapeno, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 Tbl. rosemary
- 1 can diced tomatoes (or 15oz.)
- 1 small can tomato paste
- 1 heavy pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 heavy pinch black pepper
- 1 Tbl. honey
- 1 Bay leaf
- Salt to taste.
- 1 lb. spicy Italian sausage (Mild or Hot; depends on how hot you want this dish!)
- Crank the burner to medium heat and melt the better. When a delicious, roasted nut smell hits the air, your butter is ready. Drop in the chopped onion and jalapeno. Sautee like this for about five minutes, or until the onions become translucent. Reduce the heat a little, add a couple tablespoons of water, and cover. Keep an eye on your onions and jalapeno as they caramelize, re-hydrate with water in tablespoon increments.
- After 15 minutes, add the garlic and rosemary, and stir for 2-3 minutes, or until the garlic aromatic kicks in. Another way I can gauge this is if I hear my husband from the other room: “What smells so good!?”
- Now, dump in the tomatoes and tomato paste, and mix until fully incorporated with the other ingredients. If you would like to avoid molten lava marinara popping into your eye when you peer in at the delicious smelling sauce, lower your heat. If you enjoy pain, you dirty bitch, your gonna want to lower that heat anyway, otherwise you’ll scorch the bottom of your sauce, and that is gross.
- Add your red pepper flakes, black pepper, honey, bay leaf and salt. Stir until incorporated, and let rest at a low heat.
- While the sauce is cooking, brown the Italian sausage, drain, and stir in the meat.
- Process the whole hot, delicious mess in a food processor or blender, and set aside.
I actually had to double this recipe with the sheer volume of lasagna I was working with. You may not need to do the same, if you opt for a small lasagna, but just in case, make a little extra. If you don’t, the worst thing that can happen is a sauce mortar for your lasagna that’s’as faded as my jeans. However, if you do make extra, the worst thing that will happen is you have some left over marinara sauce!
The 9 Layer Lasagna
Preheat your oven to 375.
Select your pan. You’re looking for a standard casserole pan, about 4″-5″ deep.
Set this aside with a layer of sauce coating the bottom.
Bring 5 quarts of water to a rolling boil, and drop in one noodle at a time. I would recommend using… the whole pack, and some change. Depends on the length and width of the pan you are using. It’s good to drop in one noodle at a time to avoid them clumping together, which can tear the noodles. Also, add in a dash of oil to that water to help prevent further clumping.
Since these noodles will continue to bake in the oven for about an hour (or more), we don’t want to cook them all the way through. Boil the noodles for about 8-10 minutes, until al dente, which is a really fancy Italian term for par-cooking that you will fuck up on more than one occasion.
Anywho! Drain and rinse with cool water to stop the noodles from cooking further. Until you are ready to use them, set them out to dry on paper towels or paper towels on a cooling rack .
Now, you can start assembling your lasagna. I used a lot of different fillers for each layer, I wanted to try and make them each different out of respect for the game. One layer was parmesan and bacon, another was heirloom tomatoes and ricotta, another layer was spicy, smoked andouille sausage!
You can fill your lasagna with pretty much anything you want, but remember this:
Make sure every layer is covered with sauce or cheese, or you will have crusty noodles. Blegh!
Cover your lasagna with foil. Tent the foil so it doesn’t come in contact with your cheese and peel it back when you uncover the lasagna, which you will want to do for the last 15 minutes of baking.
Cook for one hour (remembering to uncover for the last 15 minutes) or until the lasagna reaches an internal temperature of 160. You will also want to look for a brown bubbly top.
Let the lasagna sit for 15 minutes outside the stove so all of the ingredients can set.
Serve that shit!