For close friends and family, birthday celebrations are all about requests. For instance, R always asks for Birthday Crêpes for breakfast and a Baked Alaska for dessert. D get a Bûche de Noël for his birthday. So, when I asked two of our friends whose birthdays are only a few days apart if I could make them one dinner, they agreed. And it didn't take long for them to agree on lasagna.
I usually use five different cheeses. One of them asked, "You make it with seven cheeses, right?" Another upped it to twelve cheeses. Hmmmm...I was able to get it up to eight for this version. And, because the boys had promised to make Nonna lasagna (she paid them!), I had my Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf and my Precise Kitchen Elf make all four pans. I did nothing but the dishes. Quite a deal!
- 1 onion, peeled and diced
- 5 to 6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- olive oil
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound ground pork
- 3 (chicken) sausage links, cooked and sliced into thick coins
- 2 C fresh tomato sauce
- 1/2 C red wine
- 1/2 C water
- 1 C fresh chopped parsley
- 2 T fresh oregano
- freshly ground salt, to taste
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
- no boil lasagna noodles
- 3 C shredded cheese (I used a mixture of provolone, aged mozzarella, asiago, and pecorino)
- 1 C shredded parmesan
- 1 C small curd cottage cheese
- 1 C ciliegie (small fresh mozzarella balls)
- 1 C whole milk ricotta
In a large, flat-bottom pan, saute the onions and garlic in a splash of olive oil until the onions are softened and translucent.
Add in the ground meats and cook till browned through completely. Add in the tomato sauce, wine, water, and cooked sausages. Bring to a boil.
Cover with foil. Bake in the 375 degree F oven for one hour. Remove the foil. Sprinkle with shredded parmesan. Return pan to the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese melted. Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing. Serve hot.
We served this with garlic bread and salad. Then we finished the meal with two birthday cakes. More on that soon.