My Mother's Cooking - Homemade Lasagna
What Is the Origin of Lasagna?
My Mother's Lasagna
My mother taught herself how to make lasagna by reading the recipe on a box of packaged lasagna noodles. Like every other recipe that she ever followed, she quickly modified it to suit her own personal taste.
I learned how to make lasagna from watching my mother make it, and after I left home and went out on my own, I continued to make lasagna quite often since it is easy to make and can be refrigerated or frozen to provide several meals.
During the years that I have continued to make this dish, I have further modified it to make use of Italian ingredients that were not available to us in the 1950s in North Central Wisconsin.
When my mother made her lasagna, she used her basic spaghetti sauce, which she made with ground beef and her home canned tomatoes. I like to use a bottle of inexpensive spaghetti sauce and add Italian sausage slices and my own spices.
My mother couldn’t get ricotta cheese in those days so she probably substituted dry, small-curd cottage cheese. I use ricotta cheese mixed with an egg and chopped parsley. I still use grated Parmesan cheese from a can because I can’t afford eighteen dollars a pound for imported Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Whenever possible, I like to use the ribbed lasagna noodles and I try to undercook them slightly so that they will remain somewhat firm after they are baked.
1 Hour at 300 F
Ingredients for the Sauce:
One Medium Onion peeled and chopped
2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 16-Oz. Jar of Spaghetti Sauce
3 Cloves of Garlic peeled and finely chopped
1 Tablespoon of Basil
1 Teaspoon of Oregano
1 Teaspoon of Salt
½ Teaspoon of Sugar
Pepper to Taste
1 Lb. of Sweet Italian Sausage boiled, cooled and sliced ¼ inch thick.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet, add the sliced sausage and the chopped onions and cook them over moderate heat until they start to brown. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Add the spaghetti sauce and the remaining ingredients and simmer for at least 30 minutes.
1 Lb. of Lasagna noodles
1 Lb. of Mozzarella Cheese sliced 1/8 inch thick
8 Oz. of Ricotta Cheese mixed with one Beaten Egg, one tablespoon of Chopped Flat Leaf Parsley and a little Salt and Pepper
1 Cup of Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Boil the lasagna noodles according to the directions on the package but about one minute less to keep them firm. Drain them and rinse them with cold water.
- Preheat the oven to 300 F and set out an 8 inch by 12-inch baking dish that is 3 inches deep.
- Spread 1/3 of the sauce in the bottom of the pan. Then add 1/3 of the noodles, 1/3 of the mozzarella and half of the ricotta mixture.
- Repeat with a second layer.
- Finally add the remaining sauce, lasagna noodles and mozzarella and sprinkle the top evenly with Parmesan cheese.
- Bake for one hour at 300 F and serve with some crusty Italian bread and a tossed salad.
How to Make Lasagna
Links to more of my mother's recipes
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North Central Wisconsin
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