Lasagna and I have had a long and not so wonderful history together. When I was growing up, I do not ever remember eating homemade lasagne. I remember stouffer's frozen out of the box, and wondering why Garfield the cat was so in love with such a dish. Alas, I kept trying to like it, and found the more I tried to eat it, the less I wanted to. Eventually, I stopped trying to like it and put it on my least favorite  dishes list, until one fateful day when I was asked to make it for a special dinner, and discovered that making it yourself could prove to be a life-changing experience. I never thought that lasagne would make me as happy as it does today, and it's all owed to HOME ASSEMBLY. This particular lasagne recipe is made of ground lamb, but you could use whatever ground meat you choose.
  The word "lasagna" comes from the Greek word "lasanon," which means chamber pot. The word eventually evolved to mean cooking pot (I don't know that I really want to explore that particular evolution). The Italians originally used the word to mean the dish in which the food was cooked.
   "Lasagna" now refers to both the flat sheets of pasta as well as the yummy, cheesy dish made with those pasta sheets.

1 pkg lasagna noodles
1 lb. ground lamb or ground beef
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cans (8 oz. each) Tomato Sauce
1 cans (6 oz. each) Tomato Paste
1 cup water
1/4 tsp.Ground Black Pepper
2 Tbsp Rosemary chopped
2 cups Ricotta cheese
2 cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the sausage and cook over medium-low heat, breaking it up with a fork, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until no longer pink. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, the basil, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat, for 15 to 20 minutes, until thickened.
  • Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with the hottest tap water. Add the noodles and allow them to sit in the water for 20 minutes. Drain.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, goat cheese, 1 cup of Parmesan, the egg, the remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.
  • Ladle 1/3 of the sauce into a 9 by 13-inch baking dish, spreading the sauce over the bottom of the dish. Then add the layers as follows: half the pasta, half the mozzarella, half the ricotta, and one 1/3 of the sauce. Add the rest of the pasta, mozzarella, ricotta, and finally, sauce. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of Parmesan. Bake for 30-45 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling.
Many lasagna recipes can be made without pre-cooking the noodles. The moisture and heat from the other ingredients will cook the noodles as the dish bakes. Cover and bake for 45 minutes, then remove the cover for another 20 minutes to let the sauce thicken. Use a non-reactive glass or ceramic dish for baking to avoid a reaction with the acidic tomato sauce.
You can assemble your lasagna ahead of time and store uncooked in the fridge overnight, or you can freeze it to cook later.
2007 Renato Ratti Ochetti Nebbiolo d' Alba
Nebbiolo is Piedmont's most prestigious red grape variety. Its name is thought to come from the Italian word nebbia which means fog, either because this grape ripens late (it is harvested around middle October, during the fog season), or because of the cloudy veil that forms over its ripe berries. It is used by itself for the production of the age-worthy wines of Barolo and Barbaresco, and blended with Bonarda and Vespolina in the production of Ghemme and Gattinara. However, the Langhe and Asti DOC produce wines made with 100% Nebbiolo that are ready to drink one year after the harvest (I personally prefer to wait a few more years). They are lively and fresh with an elegant bouquet and a fruity flavor profile.
This wine has been fermented in temperature controlled tanks, left 5 days on maceration and aged for one year in oak barrels.
Tasting notes:
Clear, purple color. Elegant nose of blackberry, violets and underbrush. There is also some oak, and it is well integrated with the fruit. Medium bodied, silky with ripe tannin. Dark berries, spices and oak on the palate. Vibrant acidity and lingering finish with an aftertaste of dried fruit. Modern style, crafted for early drinking, it is really well made (retail $21.99 - AVIN1052880685159)