Snow and Lasagna!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I actually ended up missing my first class yesterday so I will not be blogging about deep frying!  I wasn't feeling good yesterday morning and knew there were delays and cancellations on the NJ Transit so I decided to take the day off.  
This morning it was snowing out!  It was the perfect day to stay nice and warm in the kitchen and make Christmas lasagna!  My mom and I made a big pot of sauce for our traditional lasagna with mini meatballs and dried hot sausage.  We also made a separate sauce for our non-traditional lasagna with spicy poultry sausage.  We only assembled the non-traditional lasagna and put it in the freezer so that it is good for Christmas day!

So, first up: Tomato Sauce with spicy poultry sausage
1 package spicy italian poultry sausage (about 1.5 pounds)
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, small diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 28 oz can san marzano tomatoes, crushed
1 bouquet garni (I used 2 bay leaves, parsley stems, and thyme sprigs)
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 cup red wine or chicken stock
salt and pepper

We began by simmering the tomatoes with the bouquet garni.  In a large skillet, brown the turkey sausage on all sides.  Add to the tomato sauce.  In the same skillet, coat the pan with EVOO and add the onions and carrots.  Saute until soft and a bit caramelized.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute.  Add the mixture to the tomatoes.  Deglaze the pan with chicken stock or wine (we actually added a little of both).  Add the pan drippings to the sauce.  Season the sauce with sugar, salt, pepper, and oregano.  Simmer for about an hour.  When the sausage was done, we sliced the links and added them back to the sauce.  

When sauce #1 was done, we got started on our second sauce with dried sausage and mini meatballs.  This sauce was made in the same way as the other one except we grated the carrots, and basically doubled all of the ingredients to make a huge pot of sauce.   Instead of poultry sausage, we browned partially-dried hot italian pork sausage:

Next, we made mini meatballs.  We didn't measure anything, and just eye-balled all of the ingredients.  In a large bowl, we mixed together 2 packages of ground beef, parmesan, 2 eggs, breadcrumbs, garlic powder, chopped parsley, and a splash of milk.  
Then, we formed them into cute little meatballs and browned them in a skillet to add to the sauce.

Here's the final product of our huge pot of traditional tomato sauce:  

Next, it was time to assemble out non-traditional lasagna.  My mom and grandma are putting together the other lasagna on Tuesday.  

First, we layered a little sauce and a layer of fresh whole wheat pasta sheets (cooked just shy of al dente).  Then we spread on part-skim ricotta, chopped spinach (mixed with salt, pepper, and a hint of fresh nutmeg), fresh mozzerella, a sprinkle of pecorino, and more sauce and sausage.  We continued to layer for 2 more layers.  I CANNOT wait to try this lasagna.  We usually just make 2 traditional lasagnas, but I figured it would be nice to change it up and make 1 lasagna a little different :)


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