Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Second Helping: The 10,000-Calorie Lasagna

CPE_lasagnaIf it weren't for this lasagna, I might never have had my two wonderful boys.


I first tasted this 14 years ago. It was Easter weekend, and I had talked a guy I worked with at the newspaper into inviting me over for dinner. This was the only thing Doug knew how to make, other than Rice-a-Roni and macaroni and cheese out of a box. It proved to be the first date of many, and now Doug makes this a few times a year when we need a satisfying, comforting meal for a crowd.

Doug learned the recipe from his grandmother when he was 6 years old. He swore it would be absolutely ruined if we strayed from the prescribed brand names or tried to do anything fancy, like add fresh herbs or swap in, say, sun-dried tomato and artichoke sausage. I finally convinced him to switch from straight ricotta to low-fat, and that's how we brought it down to 10,000 calories for the whole thing. He's made other adjustments as well -- when we moved from the East Coast to the West, some of the preferred brands were nowhere to be found. So it isn't the same, and it certainly isn't healthy, but it's still pretty darn good.

And convenient: You can assemble it a day ahead and bake it according to the directions when ready to serve. Leftovers freeze easily. And there's always way more than we need. This past weekend we fed five adults and eight children, and still had nearly half of it left.

Doug's Lasagna

Doug is rather picky about the ingredients, right down to brand names. Trust me, you can use whatever kind of spaghetti sauce you like.

1 pound hot sausage
1 pound mild/sweet sausage
1 pound hamburger
2 26-ounce jars of spaghetti sauce (he says Prego Traditional)
a cup or so of low-fat ricotta cheese
8 cups mozzarella cheese (Sargento)
1 package lasagna noodles, preferably the kind with ridges

Cut up sausage and cook in skillet; set meat aside. Cook hamburger in skillet; drain fat. Combine cooked meats and sauce.
Meanwhile, cook lasagna noodles according to package directions.
In 9-inch by 13-inch pan, layer noodles, meat and sauce, ricotta, and mozzarella; repeat. Over the top layer of noodle, spread plain sauce and still more cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.

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