Friday, October 14, 2011

Famous Todd's Rockin' Lasagna

Food is love. I truly believe one universal, nonverbal love language is shared through food. Cooking for another, one nurtures, satisfying one basic need for survival. Through one single dish, one can communicate an insight to a personal culture, history, background, a celebration or event, experiences, even religion. Food can communicate an awful lot. The time one puts in to creating a dish, carefully, lovingly seasoning to perfection, finding that perfect balance that shares something so personal from person to person, that that perfect balance speaks deep to the soul. Then we have the ritual of sharing a meal, delving even more into the importance of human bonding through subsistence. I could go on for days about this personal belief but to spare any readers out there, I will just say this: For the above given reasons it is deeply appreciated anytime anything comes out of one’s kitchen and shared with me.  So, the other day when Todd lovingly created a lasagna dish, spending time buying the ingredients and carefully preparing them in his kitchen, it spoke much more to me than I’m sure he thought it would. He was probably just craving lasagna and wanted to do something nice for his girlfriend. He cooks for me quite often (I’m lucky he is a fabulous cook) but I hope, on every occasion he knows, how greatly he is appreciated as well as his every meal shared with me. The perfect way to say, “I love you”.
Don’t forget: this also applies to all friends and family out there too.
As a result, I had to share his delicious lasagna creation.


Famous Todd’s Rockin’ Lasagna

1 small container of non-fat ricotta cheese
½ cube of firm tofu
1 yellow or white onion (finely chopped)
5 to 7 celery stalks (finely chopped)
8 cloves of garlic (minced)
1 can of anchovies in oil (finely chopped)
1 Lb. of spicy Italian sausage (casings removed)
1 package of flat lasagna noodles (uncooked)
1 large heirloom tomato or 4 Roma tomatoes (coarsely chopped)
1 jar of Trader Joe’s garlic pasta sauce
¼ of red wine
3 Tb of savory
2 Tb of oregano
Olive oil
About 1 cup of fresh mozzerella (shredded or sliced)
1 can of black olives

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With your clean hands, smoosh ricotta and tofu together in a large bowl.  In a large skillet, heat on medium the onion, celery, garlic and anchovies until they begin to sweat, remove from heat, add tomatoes. In a medium skillet brown the sausage on medium heat. Heat the tomato sauce in a pan and add a dash of olive oil, and red wine, set aside when hot and integrated. In a ¼ cup scoop a small layer of sauce in to the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan. Layer one layer of noodles, a layer of cheese, another layer of noodles, a layer of celery mixture, layer of noodles, layer of meat, layer of sauce, layer of noodles, layer of cheese, layer of sauce, sprinkle with savory, oregano and olives. Bake in oven about 20 minutes, until heated through. Let stand for 5 minutes out of the oven. For perfect presentation, cut desired piece of lasagna, lift out of pan and flip upside down to serve. Cin! Cin! Enjoy!

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