Monday, May 30, 2011

Nikki Joe's Lasagna

I recently had a very good friend in town.  She was my High school sweetheart and after 12 years plus we have remained in contact and been there for each other.  It is a complicated relationship that most people don't understand.  It is hard to find friends who will drop the world for you.  Who will tell you that your messing up, and will be there to help pick up the pieces instead of saying "I told you so." 

We had both been in a real hard place in our lives and decided the if there was ever a time to see each other it was now.  No need to go into detail but we have both been dealing with lots of change and emotional struggles.  Her visit was the fresh breath of life I was in need of.  I tend to live in my head WAY to much.  And she was friend enough to point it out.

One of my favorite memories of our time together was the day I made her dinner.  We were young and it was a first for the both of us.  She had never been cooked for and I had never cooked for someone special.  She wanted a lasagna which was perfect because my friend Leo had just showed me how he made his family's sauce.  His family was Italian and took lots of pride in their recipes.

Nikki Joe's Lasagna

Here is what you'll need:

1/2 pound vine ripened tomato
1/2 can fire roasted tomatoes
1/2 can tomato sauce
1 small can tomato paste
2 links spicy Italian sausage
fresh grated garlic to taste
sea salt to taste
red peeper flake to taste
1 onion finely diced
lasagna pasta
Parmesan cheese to taste
mozzarella cheese to taste
ricotta cheese to taste

Brown your Italian sausage.  I removed the casing and browned mine to make a meat sauce.  You can add the browned whole sausage and remove it at the end of cooking if you want the flavor but not the meat its self. Use a food processor to liquefy tomatoes and the 1/2 can of fire roasted tomatoes.  Add all the remaining ingredients except for the pasta and simmer for at least two hours.  Be sure to taste as it cooks and adjust the seasoning to meet your needs.  It is a recipe not a code of law, make it your own and have fun.

I found a no boil lasagna noodle and it was fantabulous!!!  It really made the whole thing quite easy. 

When your sauce is done use a small amount of olive oil to grease a 6x9 baking dish.  Add a small amount of sauce and then start to layer your lasagna.  I did ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella and sauce and did three layers.  Top with cheese and bake at 375 for about an hour.  The sauce should be bubbling nicely and the cheese will start to brown.

I served it with Ramsay's baby carrots and an Italian veggie medley of squash and zucchini. Very simple yet impressive.  The time spent cooking says you care and what girl doesn't like a man who will cook for her?  When was the last time you made a candle lit dinner for her???

A true friend is there for you
A friend "says" they are there for you
A true friend drops the world when you call
A friend "misses" your call
A true friend lends a shoulder to cry on, but will let you know when you are wrong
A friend provides a judgmental shoulder and says "you can do no wrong"
A true friend deals with the change in your life
A friend ignores the change in your life
A true friend will be there for all the rough years
A friend is only there for the good years
A true friend will be there at the end because they were there from the start
A friend will just let it end regardless of the start

What kind of friend are you????

Nikki Joe I am a true friend and feel you are one too :)
I wish you much joy, love, and compassion in life!

Love Food, Live Life! 

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