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Food: Carmela Soprano’s Lasagna

May 6, 2013


If you’ve ever seen The Sopranos you know that, much like a 1940’s film makes some crave a cigarette, watching mobster Tony Soprano inhale baked ziti defies you to go another second without pasta. I was struck in particular by a character’s description of how Tony’s wife, Carmela, makes her lasagna  -with a layer of basil leaves underneath the cheese. Below is my lasagna (taught to me by my mother), but with a Carmela Soprano twist. You will probably be uneasy about the ridiculous amount of fresh basil you use, but don’t worry, it’s not overpowering at all.

Carmela Soprano’s Lasagna
makes enough for 6 really hungry people, 8 less hungry people.

32 oz whole milk ricotta
2 tsp garlic powder (or 2 cloves garlic, finely minced, or equivalent amount of garlic product)
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup parmesan, grated
1 lb ground beef
32 oz tomato sauce (make your own or use a great jarred sauce, like Rao’s)
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 lb lasagna noodles, cooked al dente (7-8 minutes) and drained
1 very large bunch basil, leaves removed from stems (about 60 leaves)

Brown the beef and add sauce. In a bowl, mix garlic powder, salt, eggs, and lemon into ricotta until blended. Begin to layer your ingredients into your lasagna pan:
Start with a thin layer of sauce just to coat the bottom of the pan so the noodles don’t stick (a tip from my mom).
Add a layer of noodles, then a layer of ricotta, then a layer of sauce and meat, then a sprinkle of parm. Next add a layer of basil leaves, top with mozzarella, then another layer of noodles to start again. You’ll probably get 3-4 layers in your pan, but remember you need an extra layer of noodles to top the whole thing, and at least enough sauce left over to coat those noodle so they don’t dry out. Finish with more basil and mozzarella, cover with tin foil. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Davey permalink
    September 7, 2015 7:47 am

    You forgot the 1 lb. of sweet sausage. = )

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