Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mrs. King's Lasagne for Tom's Birthday and a Friend

Mrs. King's Lasagne

For Tom's birthday this year, he requested lasagne.  So, I pulled out an old favorite: Mrs. King's lasagne. 

In Texas, I used to babysit for the Kings when I was a teenager. Keith King and my dad were friends through work.  I can't remember their son's name right now but he was a nice kid. They had one of those groovy 60's suburban houses that are now popular.  In contrast, ours was decorated in an Americana-look due to our parents' conservative Pennsylvania roots. So I was kind of in awe of Mrs. King.  Pat King gave my mom this recipe and it is how I first learned to make lasagne.  It uses cottage cheese instead of ricotta.  It is simple but surprisingly good.

Mrs. King's Lasagne 
Serves 6 to 8
1/2 lb. lasagne noodles
2 T. cooking oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 lb. ground beef (I used beef, pork and veal mix)
2 1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1/2 t. basil/rosemary
1 1/2 cups water
2 6 ounce cans of tomato paste
2 eggs, beaten
1 pt. cottage cheese
1 T. minced parsley
1/2 lb. mozzarella, shredded or sliced
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese

Cook noodles as directed and drain. 

Heat oil in skillet, cook garlic and onion until soft.  Add meat and seasoning and cook until crumbly. 
Add tomato paste and hot water.  Simmer 5 minutes or so and set aside. 

Blend beaten eggs with cottage cheese in bowl.  Add parsley and stir to mix. 

In a baking dish (9x13x2) -- but I was giving half of Tom's birthday meal to a friend who has recently had surgery, so divided the recipe into two 8x8 baking dishes -- put a thin layer of meat sauce, half the noodles, all the cottage cheese ...  This is where the recipe stops because I have lost the second card over the years.  So, I just put a third of the remaining meat sauce on top, then another layer of noodles, more meat sauce,
half the mozzarella, another layer of noodles, the remaining meat sauce, the remaining mozzarella --

I ran out of sauce and cheese, so I opened a jar of Paul Newman's basil and tomato sauce, and cut up fresh mozzarella ---
and top it with the Parmesan cheese.

Here are some cooking tips I used when cooking the recipe.  Salt along the way, instead of all at once like the recipe says.  I add a pinch when I start the onions, and keep adding and tasting throughout the course of cooking the sauce, so it doesn't end up over salted.

Add your garlic well after the onions have started cooking so you don't burn your garlic.

A ground meat mix of beef, pork and veal makes a creamier, richer meat sauce than straight beef.  Be sure to buy lean beef or drain off some of the fat.

I use basil only, and skip the rosemary.  And use lots of basil so the flavor really comes through in the sauce.
Serve it with a nice salad.  I made the Arugula Salad with Shaved Grana Padama.  

One to deliver

And one for us. 

If you have never made lasagne before, this would be a good recipe to try.

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