Sunday, October 10, 2010
Michael Symon's Mom's "Bellybuster" Lasagna
This lasagna is definitely a bellybuster! In total there is four pounds of meat, three pounds of cheese, one pound of lasagna noodles, as well as some other seasonings and flavorings. This recipe for lasagna was the recipe that Michael Symon grew up eating every Wednesday night, his Mom's recipe.
Michael says that he could smell the lasagna baking from houses away and I believe it. It was a cool day when I made this lasagna and I had all the windows open. My daughter and her friends were playing outside. Once the meat hit the pan and began to sizzle there were two ten year old boys standing at my window. I had to laugh. I always knew that most men loved meat. I guess I just didn't know that it started at such an early age.
Michael says "You could smell the lasagna baking houses away, and Wednesday was the only night of the week that I was more than happy to come in from outside and be early for dinner."
Serves 8 (easily serves 10 to 12)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound pork neck bones (**note below)
1 pound ground veal
1 pound ground beef
1 pound spicy Italian sausage, loose or removed from the casing
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 cups chopped peeled tomatoes, or 1 28-ounce can San Marzano, with their juice
3 bay leaves
1 pound dried lasagna noodles
2 pounds whole-milk ricotta cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano leaves
2 large eggs
1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, grated
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and a three-finger pinch of salt and sweat them until they're translucent, 2 minutes. Add the neck bones and brown them, about 5 minutes. Add the ground veal and beef and sausage, season with another healthy pinch of salt, and continue cooking until the meat is browned, about 10 minutes. Add the white wine, tomatoes and their juice, and the bay leaves, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon, making sure to get all of the browned bits into the sauce. Season the sauce with the salt and simmer for 2 hours over medium heat. Remove the bay leaves and neck bones and let cool. Skim any fat that rises to the surface.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add enough salt so that it tastes seasoned and allow the water to return to a boil. Add the noodles and cook until al dente. Drain well and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl mix together the ricotta, parsley, basil, oregano, and eggs with a pinch of salt.
Preheat the oven to 350F.
In a lasagna pan 9X13 inches is optimal - ladle about 1 cup sauce on the bottom. Arrange a layer of noodles on this followed by a layer of sauce and then some of the ricotta mixture, smoothing it with a spatula to the edges. Repeat the process until the pan is full. Finish with a final layer of noodles, sauce, the mozzarella, and Parmesan.
Cover the lasagna with foil and bake for 1 hour. Uncover and bake for 30 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes before cutting and serving.
I served the lasagna with a green salad and Michael's Red Wine Vinaigrette.
Red Wine Vinaigrette
Makes About 1-1/2 cups
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1-1/4 cups extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped toasted almonds (optional)
1 teaspoon diced seeded fresno chile pepper (optional)
2 tablespoons sliced fresh mint (optional)
Combine the shallot, garlic, vinegar and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk in a few drops of the oil and then begin adding the oil in a thin stream, whisking continuously. After all the oil has been incorporated, whisk in any optional ingredients you may be using.
Notes/Results: The lasagna received rave reviews. My husband was more than pleased with this meaty version and declared it delicious. You could really taste both the flavors from the beef, as well as the pork. This is not a super saucy lasagna. Since the meat and tomato mixture simmers for 2 hours most of the tomato sauce cooks out. We enjoyed this most served on tomato sauce or with extra tomato sauce poured on top. Michael's Red Wine Vinaigrette and a green salad was the perfect accompaniment.
This brings me to my question regarding pork neck bones. Have any of you ever cooked with them? If so, what did you think?
I chose Michael's lasagna recipe because I was curious about using pork neck bones. I didn't anticipate any issues with them, but found that the bones splintered off into several small pieces after simmering for 2 hours. Does anyone know if this is a common problem when using pork neck bones?
I am submitting this to Symon Sundays hosted by Ashlee of Veggie By Season.
I am also submitting this to Brenda of Brenda's Canadian Kitchen in celebration of her Cookbook Sundays event.