I'm not the most complex person in the world. If asked to describe myself I would say: it's easy; just remember these five things:
1) I'm from Northeast Ohio.
2) I like to write.
3) I'm married to a hot Venezuelan babe.
4) I recently won the 2008 Australian Open tennis championship.
5) I make a killer lasagna.
That last detail is important. You'll meet a lot of people who claim they make a killer lasagna, but half the time they're full of crap. Often it's underseasoned, bland, or, worse, loaded with a bunch of garbage that has no place in a lasagna (a red flag should go up whenever you hear someone boast that they've made a vegetarian lasagna. That usually means they jammed a lot of carrots and broccoli and other shit in there. Carrots! Good god in heaven). I'm not trying to be arrogant here, people, but my lasagna really is good. Don't believe me? I understand your skepticism. You've been duped before. We all have. But why not give mine a try?
For the sauce:
Just forget using a jarred sauce right now. This sauce is outta sight. It takes time, but what's the rush? You'll need:
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 large cans of crushed tomatoes
1 large can of tomato puree
1 small can of tomato paste
1 lb. ground beef
1 white onion, diced
2-3 garlic cloves, diced
1 tbsp. dried basil
1 tbsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp. sugar
1/3 cup red wine
1/2 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
Sautee the onion and garlic in olive oil until the onion is soft. Add ground beef and cook through. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour. Do not burn! Add water if it gets too thick. Adjust seasonings to taste, esp. salt, pepper and sugar, which cuts the acidity of the tomatoes.
For the lasagna:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
1 box of lasagna noodles (don't use those infernal no-boil noodles, people. Good food must be made with love. Love!)
16 oz. ricotta cheese
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (essential!!!)
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese (grate your own for best results)
1 1/2 lbs. grated mozzarella cheese (again, grate your own. It will be way better if you don't use bland, pre-grated pseudo-cheese from hell.)
salt to taste
Boil lasagna noodles in well-salted water. Do not boil until fully cooked! About halfway is enough. They will cook through while baking. Drain noodles and rinse with cold water for safe handling.
In a bowl, combine ricotta cheese, nutmeg and a dash of salt.
Butter a lasagna pan and spread a layer of sauce on the bottom. Follow with a layer of noodles, then about 1/3 of your ricotta mixture. Add 1/3 of your mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Continue adding layers in this order, until your ingredients are used up. If you don't end with a layer of cheese on the top, I don't know what to tell you. Kill yourself.
Cover with foil and put in oven for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
Serve with a tossed salad, crusty bread and, of course, a nice red wine.
This recipe is guaranteed to score you a hot Venezuelan babe.
If you have any questions or concerns, please post them. Made a McBone lasagna? Let us know how it turned out.