Ring in the New Year Italian Style!
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There are lots of ways to ring in the New Year – from parties on the beach, dinner at fancy restaurants and going to entertainment events...
to watching a movie on TV or tuning in to Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.
For SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel, though, one thought came to mind – lasagna!
With a little nudging from us, Greg Kishel agreed to celebrate the New Year by making his time-tested lasagna, the first dish he ever cooked for Patti…and still her favorite.
One of the ultimate comfort foods, lasagna is perfect for when people get together because you can prepare it ahead of time and have plenty to share. And everyone loves it.
Greg’s co-chef in the kitchen is none other than culinary expert Betty Crocker. So, you know the lasagna will be a hit. Over the years he’s added a few touches of his own, but, for the most part, it’s pretty much the same as Betty’s original recipe – a classic in every way.
Greg jokes, “If I didn’t want to starve, I learned to cook.” And, fortunately for SurfWriter Girls, he learned very well. What’s more, he is willing to walk you through the steps of making your own New Year’s Eve lasagna dish.
“Just start with the meat, onions and garlic,” Greg explains. “Brown it together in a large saucepan.”
“Then add the whole tomatoes and tomato sauce, along with parsley flakes, sugar, salt and basil.”
“Heat the mixture until it boils. After that, let it simmer uncovered for an hour, stirring it from time-to-time.”
“If you’re using regular lasagna noodles, these need to be cooked and drained. With ‘oven-ready’ lasagna no boiling is needed. You can use them right out of the box.”
“While everything’s cooking, heat the oven to 350º and get started on the cheese mixture, blending the cottage cheese and Parmesan cheese with parsley flakes, salt and oregano.”
“Add the shredded mozzarella.”
“Once that’s done, set it aside, along with a cup of the meat sauce. Now you’re ready to begin assembling the lasagna layers."
“In a 13x9x2” ungreased pan place a layer of noodles, followed by a layer of meat sauce, and a layer of cheese mixture. I put extra noodles on the bottom layer to make sure that the lasagna has a good foundation. And, even though the recipe doesn’t call for it, I sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on each layer because that gives the lasagna a better taste.”
“Repeat this three more times until you’ve used up everything except the meat sauce you set aside earlier. That goes on top now, spreading it evenly. Then you sprinkle on some additional Parmesan cheese so that it makes a nice crust on top and you’re ready to put the pan in the oven.”
“Bake the lasagna uncovered for 45 minutes. When it’s done remove the pan from the oven and let the lasagna stand for 15 minutes. That way it will be easier to cut.”
“Serve the lasagna with a side salad and some French bread and you’re all set,” says Greg.
“Add a glass of wine or, since it’s New Year’s Eve, pop the cork on some Asti Spumante Italian champagne and you’re ready to toast the New Year.”
So you can have your own lasagna party, here’s a rundown of the ingredients:
24 oz. meat – beef and/or pork
¾ c. chopped onion
1 clove minced garlic
16 oz. can whole tomatoes
15 oz. can tomato sauce
3 T. parsley flakes
2 T. sugar
2 ½ t. salt
1 t. basil leaves
24 oz. cottage cheese
1 t. oregano leaves
8 oz. pkg lasagna noodles – cooked/drained or “oven-ready”
¾ lb. shredded mozzarella cheese
½ c Parmessan cheese
Then add one more ingredient – good friends and loved ones to share in your New Year’s Eve dinner.
Patti and Sunny
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