Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Dude.  Seriously.  It's been over a month since my last post. What happened?  Let's see...

-The University of San Francisco backhandedly sold and shut down KUSF 90.3 FM, the beloved community radio station where I had volunteered many hours and DJed at for four years.  That's been pretty disruptive.
-I misplaced my camera
-My camera's batteries were dead (x4) 
-I botched the polenta for a meal that was going to be The Next Blog Post
-Health insurance limbo

Oh yeah, something pretty awesome happened too.  Wayne and I shared our second anniversary together.  That's almost 9% of my lifetime.  


To celebrate, we made an epic lasagna.  Together.  As in, I let him do more than just mince garlic and cut onion.

I also started a new music project, or "band" if you will, and have been working pretty seriously to get it off the ground.  I've found my creative energy levels depleted lately with little room for writing about food I eat and make.  Actually, I haven't been making as much food in general and I've made friends with more burritos and pizza slices lately than I'm used to.  One recent practice night, I found myself at probably the most terrifying pizza place I've ever been in.  The actual pizza though, was pretty alright.

Back to the 'gna: I ended up choosing and adapting a Paula Deen lasagna recipe because it was actually one of the most frills-less non-low-carbfatvegetarian versions I could find.  I subbed fresh herbs for dried ones, fresh whole milk ricotta for cottage cheese, and nixed half a pound of meat.  Surprisingly, there is no butter in this recipe.  But in true Paula Deen fashion, according to her it apparently yields four servings.  Even after cutting back the meat, we got 12.

Lots-o-Meat Just Enough Meat Lasagna
Adapted from Paula Deen
serves 12,  I swear.
10 lasagna noodles, cooked or oven ready.

Meat Sauce:
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground Italian sausage
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes, diced, or whole peeled tomatoes chopped
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1/4 cup red wine (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste

Cheese Mixture:
1 1/2 cups ricotta, or 1lb
1-2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup grated parmesan
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a large saucepan, combine ground beef, sausage, onion, and garlic. Cook over medium heat until meat is browned and crumbled, about 8-10 minutes or until no longer pink; drain excess liquid, or keep a little if you enjoy dangling on the edge of the precipice.  

Add two tablespoons of basil, oregano, salt, pepper.

If using, add the wine and raise heat to a boil, then down to a simmer and cook until reduced by half. (We did not do this and it was still delicious, though I think it would result in a richer sauce)

Stir in tomatoes and tomato paste and let simmer uncovered for 30 to 45 minutes.


Add salt and pepper to taste.

While the meat sauce is simmering, in a medium bowl, combine ricotta, eggs, Parmesan, remaining two tablespoons of basil, parsley, salt and pepper.

After some (tasty) miscalculating, we diverged from Paula's layering technique and ended up with something like this:

Layers, from bottom to top:
1/4 of sauce
1/3 of  pasta
1/2 of ricotta mixture
1/4 of mozzarella

1/4 of sauce
1/3 of pasta
remaining 1/2 of ricotta mixture
1/4 of mozzarella

remaining 1/3 of pasta
remaining half of sauce

Oven ready noodles from Lucca, ready for baked justice

Still fairly naked, yet humble

Bake uncovered for 45 minutes.  Top with remaining 1/2 of mozzarella cheese and bake for 15 more minutes, or until cheese is golden brown.  Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Mt. Queso erupts