If you’re Italian, you might have a habit of showing people you love them by cooking for them. One of the first recipes that I learned to create was my grandma’s lasagna. Stacked high with layers of ricotta, cheeses, sauce, and pasta, it is a dish that not only fills up my stomach, but fills me with warm, happy memories and feelings. Now that I have a family of my own, I feel those same warm feelings while making them lasagna.
Okay so this is actually my great-grandma’s lasagna and my grandma wasn’t Italian at all. When my grandma, Louise, was younger, she moved up from southern Indiana to Chicago, where she met and married my Italian grandpa, Joe. They lived in a flat in a building shared with my great-grandparents and other relatives. While living there, my great-grandma taught my grandma how to make traditional Italian dishes. My grandma taught my mom. Who taught me. A recipe spanning 4 generations and possibly more.
While I usually only make it for special occassions or birthdays, this lasagna is pretty easy to make and once you make it, it is easy to remember. The secret to a thick, fluffy filling is the eggs: the more the better. Usually you want to use around 8-12 eggs for every pound of ricotta.
I bought the Arrabiata sauce, Italian seasoning, and wine (to accompany our meal) at World Market. I love their Italian food selection (as well as their aisles and aisles of other International foods). The square dishes are from their white square coupe collection.
The secret to the lasagna is the layering. Do it like this: sauce, noodles, ricotta/egg mixture, cheese, noodles, sauce, cheese. Using a big roaster or dutch oven like mine? Add some more layers: noodles, ricotta/egg mixture, noodles, sauce, cheese.
And when you’re done, you’ll have this delicious layered goodness.
So good your grandma would be proud. So good you’ll want to have everyone over for dinner. So good that you’ll want to don an apron and smoosh everyone’s cheeks and hug-squeeze them till they roll their eyes and go limp. No? Just my family does that? Okay, then. :)
What are your favorite family recipes?