I was wrong.
I'll never forget the first real lasagna I made. Slow-simmered sauce, hand-grated cheese, homemade noodles and everything. I was in college and skipped class to make it. (For a guy, of course. We'd been dating only a few weeks and I'd already turned out my best: fried chicken and pot roast. Lasagna was logically the next at bat.) So I worked on this lasagna all day and when we dug into it later I nearly fainted. It was that good. He, however, wasn't smitten. I'll have to get you my Mom's recipe for lasagna, he told me. Oh. Well. If my lasagna had to come in second runner-up, at least it fell behind an old family recipe. I understood and asked about said recipe's history. I think it's just the one on the back of the noodle box, he said.
Should have broken up with him right then.
Anyway, the guy might be history, but my love for lasagna is still going strong. I made it the night before I flew to Turkey, just in case it ended up being my last homecooked meal ever. It was a good choice. Meaty, cheesy, saucy, tender and steamy. Boy, do I ever like lasagna....
Brin's Second Runner-Up Lasagna
1 box lasagna, cooked to al dente
2 cups small-curd cottage cheese
2 handfuls each: grated Romano, Parmesan, and Mozzarella cheese
1 pound ground meat (beef, sausage, veal, turkey – whatever)
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
5 cups tomato sauce
2 teaspoons each: oregano, thyme, parsley
Cook lasagna in boiling salted water until al dente. In small mixing bowl, stir together cottage cheese, egg, and about 2/3 of the grated cheese. Brown meat with onions. Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute more. Stir in tomato sauce. Add remaining herbs. Ladle enough sauce in bottom of baking dish to prevent noodles from sticking. Arrange noodles over sauce. Spread half of cheese/egg mixture over pasta. Cover cheese with sauce. Repeat until ingredients are gone. (I usually get two layers.) Cover with reserved cheese. Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes, or until bubbly and melted and you can’t stand it any longer.