September 30, 2010

Vi Auguro Amore, Felicita' e un bel po' dil Lasagne!

We were discussing the other day with our daughter and son-in -law, what the difference was between a restaurant and a trattoria? JJM, being Italian, stated there is no clear distinction. 

 A visit to The Maine House will illuminate subtle but significant differences. The uniqueness of a " trattoria" experience is apparent in the sights, smells and atmosphere. When you walk through the entrance of  The Maine House,  you are greeted by the fragrant aroma of freshly prepared culinary delights created throughout the day. I love cooking with seasonal and local New England farm fresh produce.

 The inviting  warmth of the keeping room fireplace  and roasting garlic radiates a rustic vibe.  It is a personal dining experience characterized by an intimacy offered by The Maine House.

Italians have an extremely strong sense of family where food plays an integral role in all of their traditions. Our Maine House family gatherings always center on the table where the old favorites never fail to satisfy.

Estelle's Turkey Sausage Lasagna
2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes in tomato puree
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound lasagna noodles
15 ounces ricotta cheese
3 to 4 ounces creamy goat cheese, crumbled
1 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
1 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Heat the olive oil in a large (10 to 12-inch) skillet. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the sausage and cook over medium-low heat, breaking it up with a fork, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until no longer pink. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, the basil, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat, for 15 to 20 minutes, until thickened.
Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with the hottest tap water. Add the noodles and allow them to sit in the water for 20 minutes. Drain.
In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, goat cheese, 1 cup of Parmesan, the egg, the remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.
Ladle 1/3 of the sauce into a 9 by 12 by 2-inch rectangular baking dish, spreading the sauce over the bottom of the dish. Then add the layers as follows: half the pasta, half the mozzarella, half the ricotta, and one 1/3 of the sauce. Add the rest of the pasta, mozzarella, ricotta, and finally, sauce. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of Parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling.

Today, I pay tribute to a dear friend that I have known for the past ten years...JMLG! I know that all I have shared with you will not be forgotten and will be preserved in your memories. This to me is more important than any legacy. With this, I would like to thank you for all of the good times we have shared together.

"I wish you love, happiness and lots of lasagna!"

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