Last month, Aaron's parents were in town to celebrate an early Christmas. We invited them over to our place for dinner, and realized that in all the years we've been together, they'd never tried any of my cooking. After tossing around a few ideas, trying to find a dish everyone would enjoy, we finally landed on a simple hearty dish that's sure to please: lasagna.
Slightly adapted from Sylvia Sebastiani, Mangiamo, Let's Eat!
1 16 oz. package lasagna noodles
1 lb. good quality fresh ricotta cheese
1/2 lb. buffalo mozzarella cheese, grated
1/2 lb. Swiss cheese, grated
1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano cheese, finely grated
About 2 quarts good quality spaghetti sauce, preferably homemade (see here)
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling, salted water (with a splash of olive oil to prevent sticking), according to the label directions. Once done, drain immediately and submerge noodles in a large bowl of ice water to stop cooking.
Butter a 9 by 13 inch casserole dish and begin by arranging a layer of lasagna. Evenly spread a thin layer of ricotta over this, followed by a layer of spaghetti sauce, a layer of mozzarella, and finishing with a sprinkling of Swiss cheese (careful not to add too much Swiss, or it can overwhelm the dish). Repeat layers in this order until all ingredients are used, ending with a layer of lasagna covered with sauce and topped with a generous sprinkling of Parmesan.
Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until sauce is bubbling. Remove from oven and let stand for 15 minutes for ease in cutting.
Yield: 8 to 10 servings