Cooking the Italian Way – Lasagna

I did something really crazy yesterday.

I turned. My heat. Off.

I know that may not sound like much. But if you know me. Then you know that this is actually quite momentous. (I’m that girl who walks around in three sweatshirts. In the middle of August. And is still shivering.) My roommates and I almost broke out some bottles of wine (Thirsty Thursday anyone?). Decorated the apartment in some neon crepe paper. Put up a disco ball. And had a “rager” (or whatever it is the kids are calling it these days). We would have. Except that we had an exam the next day.

But no more talk of that. Because it is the weekend. And not only that. It is warm out.

Get this.

Spring might actually have arrived.

Needless to say. I am thrilled. Ecstatic. Jubilant. I am jumping. For. Joy.

Except for one tiny thing.

I’m going to miss winter food. Hearty casseroles. Winter squash. Sweet potatoes.

Down-home-stick-to-your-ribs (and your thighs) comfort food.

Stuff that you wouldn’t dream of eating during the summer. Because. Well. People are going to be seeing your thighs.

Plus who (other than me) wants to spend all day slaving over a hot stove in 90 degree weather?

No one. Thus. It is time to move on.

And so. To commemorate what is possibly the only beautiful thing about winter. I give you my favorite lasagna recipe. Otherwise known as. My swan song.

Classic Italian Lasagna
Serves 8, adapted from Giada DeLaurentis

3 cups tomato sauce (I cheated and used a jar from Whole Foods. All fresh ingredients – tomatoes, garlic, onion, basil. I will post the exact brand next time. It’s my favorite jarred tomato sauce.)
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb lean ground beef
4 cups part-skim ricotta
3 eggs
1 lb lasagna noodles (I didn’t end up using the whole pound, just enough to fill my tray. I also used no-boil noodles.)
1 lb frozen spinach, thawed and patted dry
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup parmesan

1. Preheat the oven to 375.

2. In a saute pan, preheat the olive oil. Cook the ground beef, breaking it up into small pieces with a spatula as you go. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and garlic powder if using. Cook until browned, then remove from heat, draining any excess liquid, and set aside.

3. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the ricotta and eggs. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

4. Into the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish, spread 1 cup of the tomato sauce. Add a layer of the pasta sheets. Over this, spread all of the ricotta mixture, followed by all of the spinach. Arrange another layer of pasta. Spread all of the ground beef over this, followed by half of the mozzarella. Add another cup of tomato sauce. Arrange the final layer of pasta. Spread the remaining tomato sauce over THIS and top with mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

5. Cover with aluminum foil and then bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes.


Lasagna is the perfect way to wind up winter and begin spring. I haven’t tried Giada’s recipe, but it sure looks delicious.

Sweet and Savory

Such a beauty for a swan’s song. Do you ever ruin a meal? You are a magnificent cook and you are still young. Can you imagine what you will be cooking when you are old, at 26?

I hope I can cook as well as you do, when I am that old. Actually, I wish I had cooked like you do when I was in my early twenties. I was married then and what my poor hubby had to go through.