It seems a bit shameless to call this a “recipe,” because it’s mostly assembling, putting together ingredients with bits and pieces of love and memory. But this lasagna recipe includes a new twist for me, something I’ll call “Julie Sauce.” Read on.
Normally, I make Mama Carbone’s marinara for pretty much any Italian dish that calls for a red sauce; the recipe is here. This recipe uses a tomato sauce (gravy, if you prefer) that is so easy you’ll swear it won’t be any good – until you make it.
My good friend and a total cooking genius, Julie Greenberg, relayed this sauce recipe and I watched her a bit skeptically while she made it during Nashville’s recent record ice storm. Forever, it will mean warmth and comfort to me, as the products of her kitchen always do.
Two large cans roma tomatoes
Half a large, yellow onion
Half a stick of butter
Salt to taste
Put the ingredients in a sauce pan; the entire half of onion goes in intact. Bring to bubbling, then turn down and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove onion. It’s done. That’s it. You can use whole or crushed tomatoes and, if you really like the onion, you can take it out, puree it, and add it back to the sauce. Try it both ways.
Now, on to the lasagna…
No-bake lasagna noodles
Pre-washed baby spinach
Roasted head of garlic
16 oz. ricotta cheese
finely grated parmesan
shaved parmesan for garnish
salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste
Beat the egg and ricotta well; set aside. In a deep baking pan, start with a layer of sauce, add a layer of noodles, then a layer of the ricotta mixture. After that, you can add mushrooms or spinach, and parsley in any order you want. Just be sure that each layer contains sauce, lasagna noodles, and ricotta, with mozzarella and parmesan.
Here are some progressive pictures of the assembly, showing ingredients added (left to right in each shot) to layers. You do it your way.
That’s the roasted garlic you see in the image above.
There you have it, the finished lasagna! Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes covered with foil, then remove foil and bake a few more minutes until the top layer of mozzarella is bubbly and beginning to brown just a little. Serve with more Julie Sauce, garnished with shaved parmesan.
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