A long while back we purchased a pasta maker, the kind you roll through with a hand crank, not the high falootin electric models used in Beverly Hills. This was a more Bakersfield model. Hard to operate, and unforgiving of mistakes.
My wife Carrie decided to make 100% homemade Lasagna, complete with 100% homemade pasta. Following directions from pasta recipe, and pasta maker,and the rest of the recipe, she assembled the tasty dish, and baked it in the oven for about an hour.
Rich Italian flavors enveloped the kitchen. We could hardly wait!
After a short period of letting the dish “rest”, (the same mount of time spent on grieving a dead goldfish), we dug in. I mean we really dug in. I have never had to use a chisel to extract food from a baking tray, but with most things in life, I would soon get used to the practice.
After extracting the Lasagna from the dish and forcing servings onto waiting plates, we finally got down to business.
Unbeknownst to me, Carrie had neglected to cook the pasta, and after baking, it had set up to the consistency of floor tile. When asked, “How is yours?”, I replied that “it’s a little crunchy, but real good!”
After penetrating the protective outer layer, it was delicious!
One of my first thoughts was to contact NASA and have them use portions to protect the Space Shuttle on re-entry. Or maybe contact the military to accommodate their body armor needs. I did not voice these ideas, and I am still very happily married.
I did have waking thoughts of troops wearing Lasagna into battle and in tight spots, having to eat their “armor”
This would in turn give a new meaning to “I got your back”, meaning I ate the Lasagna attached behind you.
The following recipe will not be military grade if you cook the pasta. I highly recommend that you do.
Lasagne a la Kevlar Recipe
• 1 pound sweet Italian sausage in casings (package of ground will have texture issues)
• 1 pound lean (or not) ground beef
• 1/2 cup minced onion
• 2 cloves garlic, chopped
• 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
• 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
• 2 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
• 1/2 cup red wine for recipe
• 2 tablespoons white sugar
• 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
• 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
• 1 tablespoon salt for sauce, 1/2 teaspoon for mushrooms
• 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
• 1 bottle red wine for chef
• 2 packages sliced mushrooms
• 1/2 stick butter
• 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
• 40 garlic cloves
• 1 box lasagna noodles
• 16 ounces ricotta cheese
• 1 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced or shredded
• 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
In a stockpot, cook uncased sausage, ground beef, onion and chopped garlic over medium heat until well browned. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and wine. Season with sugar, basil, Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper and parsley. Simmer, covered, for about two hours, stirring now and then if you prefer it unburned.
Now is an appropriate time to open the chef’s bottle of wine.
In a large skillet, cook mushrooms on stove top until water has left them. Add a little salt, butter and garlic powder, and keep cooking until browned.
Wrap small group of peeled garlic cloves in a paper towel. Set inside a terra cotta garlic roaster. Nuke in microwave for two minutes. Repeat until all garlic is soft and slightly
browned, set aside. (Alternative method without use of special equipment: Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking dish with foil. Put a handful of peeled garlic cloves in the center then drizzle olive oil on top. Fold up the foil packet and seal tightly. Bake for about 45 to 60 minutes or until soft.)
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for eight to 10 minutes per package instructions. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water to stop cooking.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a large baking dish. Ar- range noodles lengthwise over meat sauce, however many it takes; cut some with knife to fit.
Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese. Top with a third of shredded mozzarella cheese, slices or shredded. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Add layer
of mushrooms. Repeat layer, and add layer of whole peeled garlic instead of mushrooms on second layer, repeat third layer and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with nonstick foil (or to further countermeasure to prevent sticking), either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese. Ha!
Bake for 30 minutes. Re- move foil and bake an additional 30 minutes. Let it set for 15 minutes before serving.