Thursday, May 3, 2012


Mama Franconi’s Lasagna 

Back in the 70’s when I lived in California, one of my best friends mother shared her lasagna recipe with me.  She would take all day to make it and I’ve never tasted better.  Because she shared it with me, I thought I would pass it forward.

I watch a lot of cooking programs and most of the shows that made lasagna always make a béchamel sauce with cheese and an egg.  Mama Franconi did not make hers with a white sauce.  She just used 3 cheeses and a marinara sauce.  The only difference between hers and how I make it today is I use the no boil lasagna noodles and she boiled hers.  Like her though, we both just toss the ingredients in and don’t carefully measure.

1 pound Italian sausage
1 pound of lean ground beef
3 cups Ricotta cheese  (her secret was lots of Ricotta piled high on top)
1 lb. fresh Mozzarella
1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1 small minced onion
2 minced garlic gloves
1  28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
1 16 oz. can of tomato sauce
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
Lasagna no cook noodles
In a large pan sauté your onion and garlic until soft.  Add your sausage and lean ground beef and brown until done.  Drain well and put back into the pan.  Add you tomatoes, tomato sauce and seasoning.  Simmer on low for several hours (one of her secrets was to simmer for hours).  If it gets too thick add some water.    

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

To assemble, spread meat sauce thinly barely covering the bottom of a 9 x13 inch sprayed baking dish. Put a layer of noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread another layer of meat sauce and then a thin layer of each cheese. Top with another layer of noodles and repeat (3 layers of noodles, sauce and cheese).  Final topping should be a lot of Ricotta cheese like a layer of whipped cream on top. Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, spray foil with cooking spray to make sure the foil stick to the cheese.

Bake 30 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 30 minutes or until golden brown.   Serve with garlic bread.

This freezes nicely if you have leftovers or you wish to make up in advance. 

Eddie’s Chicken/Beef Enchiladas Lasagna Casserole

My son Eddie invented this and I make it regularly.  It is super simple and a great meal.

Corn tortillas that fit in 9” casserole dish
Large can of Enchilada sauce
2 Pre-cooked chicken breasts
1 pound of lean ground beef
1 jar of salsa (your choice)
Large bag of mixed Mexican blend cheeses

You will need a 9 inch round casserole dish to make this.

Fry your chicken breasts and brown until done.  Take the chicken out of pan and fry the ground beef in the same pan.  Cut up the chicken into small pieces.  When the beef is done add the chicken back in pan and add a jar of salsa.  I use medium but you may want to make it mild or hot.  Sauté the salsa and meat mixture for 5 minutes.  The salsa has all the onions, garlic, tomatoes and seasoning you need and saves you a lot of work.

Spray your casserole dish and spread a layer of enchilada sauce down.  Like a lasagna, lay down a corn tortilla, a layer of meat, and cheese and repeat until mixture is used up.  Top with rest of enchilada sauce letting it run down the inside of the dish and top with rest of cheese. 

Bake with cover on casserole for 45 minutes or until the casserole is nicely browned on top. 

This recipe just shows you that you can make a lasagna out of almost anything.  Enjoy.

Tomorrow I'm going to try to get you to eat dandelions.  Yep, you heard me.  Dandelions.  I found some very creative recipes including dandelion cake and dandelion corn bread.  See ya tomorrow.

Be happy and may God bless you and yours.  


No comments:

Post a Comment