Toss That Turkey: Baked Lasagna

24 Nov

Confession time: I loathe Thanksgiving food.  Always have.  I despise turkey, detest stuffing and would not choke down a sweet or mashed potato unless threatened with physical harm.  This is appropriate because 1.) It’s Thanksgiving Day and 2.) Through the process of researching this website and cookbook project, I discovered I am not alone.

My mom tells me that her whole life growing up, the Capasso clan NEVER ate turkey on Thanksgiving. Every year, they had lasagna.  That is, until she turned 19 and met my dad (who, you might remember, loves himself some Italian food).  Dave Roberts was tall, blue-eyed and all-American and my mother was mortified by the idea that she might have to invite him over for the most all-American of holidays and eat (gasp!) cheesy, sauce-y, squares of baked pasta.  So, she begged T to make their first-ever Thanksgiving turkey.  My grandfather did not like it at all and my aunts, 20, 14, 12 and 9 at the time, were confused, but accommodating.  Like good assimilated Americans, my family has been eating it every year since, despite Popo’s loud protests and my intense hatred of it.  Hilarious– because my dad would probably have liked the lasagna all the same.

So this year I encourage you to toss that turkey… or, since you’ll probably be burned out on it by Monday, switch it up at some point and try our family recipe for lasagna, which is perfect every time (I’m not joking– anyone can make it), delicious and meatless.

BAKED LASAGNA (Serves 8-10)
1 batch Basic Tomato Sauce (recipe follows)
1lb ricotta cheese
2 eggs
1t sugar
1/2t salt
Pinch nutmeg
1 10-oz. package frozen chopped spinach, cooked and well-drained
1/2lb shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2C grated Parmesan cheese
1/2lb lasagna noodles

Prepare tomato sauce.  Mix together ricotta, eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg and spinach.  Cook lasagna noodles in boiling salted water only to soften (do not overcook); drain.  In a large baking dish, spread a thin later of pasta, some of the ricotta mixture, some of the mozzarella and and Parmesan cheeses, and cover with tomato sauce.  Reapeat until all of the lasagna noodles are used.  Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Cut into squares and serve with more sauce and more grated cheese.

BASIC TOMATO SAUCE
3T olive oil
1/2 large white onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 6-oz. can tomato paste
1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 1/2C water
1 bay leaf
2T chopped parsley
Fresh basil leaves, chopped, to taste
2t sugar
2t salt
1/4t pepper
Pinch baking soda

Saute onion and garlic over medium heat in olive oil until onion is soft.  Add tomato paste, crushed tomatoes and water, stirring to mix.  Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove bay leaf and serve over pasta.

Mangia!

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One Response to “Toss That Turkey: Baked Lasagna”

  1. Maria Capasso-D'Agrosa November 26, 2011 at 3:36 PM #

    I always thought it strange when the kids in grade school talked about turkey on thanskgiving—I’m sure they too found it funny when I described trays of lasagna on our table—ha!! Lou and I hosted Thanksgiving dinner for the D’Agrosa clan this year—28 people—and yes we had turkey but Momma D graced the table with eggplant parm—delicious!!! One step closer to tossing the turkey.
    Love—Aunt Ria

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