Like a lot of people, I really like lasagna. So I made it a personal challenge to make some. As will surprise no one who has actually put a lasagna together from raw materials, it's quite a lot of work. I'd give the recipe here, but to be honest, after two hours of preparation and assembly, I don't remember everything I used or did.
I can tell you that for each ten-by-sixteeen baking pan (I made two) I used a box of lasagna; half a pound of ground turkey browned with onion and Italian herbs; two reduced jars of tomato sauce base doctored up with some good red wine, garlic, more herbs, and a variety of cheeses; a pound of mozzarella cheese mixed with a generous grating of Parmesano Reggiano; half a head of spinach mixed with a pound of ricotta cheese, garlic, and more mozz-parm mix (bound together with an egg) and looking sort of greenish from the spinach. All told, the ingredients for these two brick-like food structures probably totals a hundred dollars.
I can tell you that grating the hard cheeses with a mini-planer is a good way to scrape off some of that skin you didn't need on your knuckles and that layering hot pasta in a baking dish is a good way to cauterize those wounds (after you've washed the blood away, of course). Finally, I can tell you that if you're not the sort of person who just plain enjoys two hours in the kitchen making something that you won't be able to eat for several hours after you're done, you'll be just as satisfied buying a frozen lasagna in the grocery store and baking it. It's a lot of work and if cooking is not a labor of love for you, you'll be unhappy with it. Me? I had a great time.
Also, I can be assured that no matter how good the lasagna turns out, it will not compare with my mother-in-law's lasagna. The Wife remembers her mother's lasagna as the best thing she made. How can I compete with that? Personally, I don't know whether my own mother, or her mother, makes better lasagna because their recipes and techniques are similar (and they form the foundation of my own) and they are insanely good. This being my first solo lasagna undertaking I'll be looking for ways to improve aside from adding height to the dish once I get a bigger baking pan to make it in. For now, I'll be satisfied if I get a gooey, creamy, tangy, and savory taste and all the pasta has a uniform texture.
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