I do this really annoying thing when I get mad. I stew and fume and the minute I actually open my mouth to say all the clever, witty, and perfectly formed arguments I have been stewing about, I burst into tears.
This is me. If I’m mad, I’m crying.
This wouldn’t annoy me so much if when I was crying, people were still listening to my voice. But as humans, when someone is crying and talking, we tend to focus on the blubbering mess rather than the words they are saying. I think as a whole this is a good thing–something about sympathy, or empathy, or the basic good in people…or something. But what this means for me is that if I’m mad, I end up either being comforted by the person I’m trying to express my anger to, or I make them completely uncomfortable to the point where they aren’t listening, but rather counting the seconds until they can run far away.
My loved ones know this about me. This poses more of a problem when I’m mad about something or at someone that doesn’t know me. As a non-confrontational person in nature, trying to express my ire is awkward enough, but add unexplained, sudden sobbing? Oh please.
So that’s what I do. But don’t worry, I can do other things too that aren’t as annoying. Or annoying at all, really, like make lasagna. I think that’s a fair trade off.
How beautiful is that?
That’s just one serving. Look at what’s left!
I meant it when I said this was for a crowd. Or in my case, lunch for the week. Did I mention that I think it tastes better the next day? Well, it does!
Weirdly enough, considering how much I love pasta, this is the first time I’d made lasagna. Every other time I’d had the dish it tasted like a big mushy mess of soggy noodles, grainy cheese, and jarred tomato sauce. This was not that.
The bechemel lent an overall creaminess to the dish while the ragu gave it substance and heft. The noodles retained much of their texture, and the top, oh that top layer. Slightly crunchy with caramelized sauce and cheese on top–a mushy mess this was not.
This dish made me realize that I actually like lasagna. I like when a dish can change a mind.
I’d love to stay calm while angry. Heck, I’d love to be angry while angry. But, whatever. I’m me and I make lasagna and I can’t be anyone else. And I’m ok with that!
Here’s the recipe!
Lasagna for a Crowd
For the Ragu (Adapted slightly from Dinner: A Love Story)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste (I probably ended up using a tablespoon and a half)
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 1/4 cup chicken stock
- 1 28 ounce can of tomato puree
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 2 minutes. Add turkey and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until no longer pink, about 7-10 minutes. Add tomato paste and stir, cooking for about 2 minutes more, until it starts to slightly darken. Add wine and chicken stock and reduce by half, about 5 minutes.
- Add tomato puree and stir. Season with salt and pepper and dried oregano. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low and let simmer for at least an hour. Taste for seasonings and adjust accordingly. When done, set aside.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 4 cups of milk (I used skim because I’m watching my fat intake, but you can use whatever you want! I’m not the boss of you)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
- Heat olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add flour and whisk until smooth. Let cook for about 2 minutes, then add milk, whisking constantly. Whisk until it starts to thicken and season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Cook until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Ragu sauce
- Bechemel Sauce
- 2 packages of fresh lasagna noodles
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
- salt and pepper for finishing
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large baking dish, add a layer of bechemel to the bottom, just until coated. Add two lasagna noodles over the sauce, then top with ragu sauce, and then bechemel sauce. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese then Mozzarella cheese on top.
- Cover with another layer of lasagna noodles, then ragu, bechemel, Parmesan and Mozzarella, repeating until you run out of sauce (save enough bechemel for the top layer!) Mine ended up being about 5 layers. The top layer should end with a layer of noodles, then a layer of bechemel, then the two cheeses. I added some fresh cracked black pepper to the top, too.
- Bake, uncovered, for 35-40 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the edges are slightly crispy. Remove from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes. Cut into servings (I got about 10 good sized servings out of this) and serve with a green salad or your favorite garlic bread.