I thought about doing a ham or turkey breast, but to me, Christmas is Italian.
I grew up (and still do) eating spaghetti with my family on Christmas. This isn’t your ordinary spaghetti. This is cook-all-day slow-roasted-goodness spaghetti. My Italian grandfather passed the recipe down to my mother who will (I hope) eventually pass it onto me.
In the meantime, I decided to try my hand at lasagna. No, I had never made it before. Odd, I know. I don’t like ground beef. But it dawned on me that I could substitute ground turkey for beef and then it dawned on me that I could add some Italian sausage to that.
So, I adapted this classic lasagna recipe from Southern Living by using 1/2 lb of ground turkey and 1/2 lb of sweet Italian sausage instead of the ground beef.
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 lb ground turkey
- 1/2 lb sweet Italian sausage removed from casing
- 1 (14.5-oz.) can basil, garlic, and oregano diced tomatoes
- 2 (6-oz.) cans tomato paste
- 1 (8-oz.) can basil, garlic, and oregano tomato sauce
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon pepper, divided
- 12 lasagna noodles, uncooked
- 8 cups boiling water
- 1 (16-oz.) container ricotta cheese
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 (6-oz.) packages part-skim mozzarella cheese slices
- Garnish: chopped fresh parsley
1. Sauté onion in 1 Tbsp. hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic, and sauté 1 minute. Add turkey and sausage, and cook, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Stir in diced tomatoes, next 4 ingredients, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaf; set meat sauce aside.
2. Place lasagna noodles in a 13- x- 9-inch pan. Carefully pour 8 cups boiling water and remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil over noodles. Let stand 15 minutes.
3. Stir together ricotta cheese, eggs, Parmesan cheese, remaining 1/4 tsp. salt, and remaining 1/4 tsp. pepper until blended.
4. Spoon half of the meat sauce mixture in a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Shake excess water from noodles, and arrange 6 noodles over meat sauce; top with half of ricotta mixture and 1 package mozzarella cheese slices. Repeat layers once.
5. Bake, covered, at 350° for 55 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 to 15 more minutes or until bubbly. Let lasagna stand 10 minutes before serving. Garnish, if desired.
Perfection is what that is.
The sauce is fantastic. (I ended up adding about 2 tablespoons of sugar to it because I like my sauce a little sweeter)
We enjoyed our meal while we watched Oprah interview the President and First Lady in the White House.
I wondered aloud where you would have Fire & Wine night at the White House. Like how would you eat on stools and wipe your fingers with paper towels?
We decided that Fire & Wine night is one of life’s pleasures that President and Mrs. Obama do not get to experience.
And then we decided (accidentally on purpose, please may I have another glass?) it was Wire & Fine night.
And that was the funniest thing anyone had ever said.
Meanwhile Gertie entertained by tossing her pheasant around the room.
And the Fiance was up in his man cave rolling around on the office chair and cheering loudly at a University of Kansas basketball game.
DD Girl and I didn’t have to work the next day so we may have continued the celebration out on the Plaza with more friends, and I may have had a little much fun….
But whatever it was, it was just fine with me. Merry Christmas!