Friday, January 18, 2013

Michael Symon's Mom's Lasagna

* Weekend Winner *

If you have ever wondered how Michael Symon became such an amazing cook, here is the answer. If I grew up on food that tasted like this, I’d be a chef, too! (And probably 300 lbs but I digress.) Before you start searching for the hidden healthy foods in the ingredients, let me stop you. There aren’t any. This is a meal to save for a special occasion. I test recipes like this because we all want a treat every once in a while, and we all know nothing is worse than whipping up an amazing looking meal only to have it taste like dog food. You eat it anyways, because after all you put so much time and energy into it, right? Don’t do that to yourself!

This is just spectacular – I kept putting off making it because I have been so disappointed in lasagna in the past. It takes so long to make and it invariably looks and tastes like mush. But alas, Michael's mother has created the perfect lasagna. I have no other words!

Michael Symon’s Mom’s Lasagna
Courtesy of TheChew
Serves 8

½ cup olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt
1 pound pork neck bones*
1 pound veal
1 pound beef
1 pound spicy Italian sausage (loose or removed from the casing)
½ cup dry white wine
4 cups chopped peeled tomatoes (or 1 - 28 ounce can San Marzano tomatoes) with their juice
3 bay leaves
1 pound dried lasagna noodles
2 pounds whole-milk ricotta cheese
¼ cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley leaves
¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
¼ cup fresh oregano leaves
2 large eggs
1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese (grated)
½ cup grated parmesan cheese

* If you can’t find pork neck bones, don’t panic. I used 3 turkey necks I had stored in the freezer and the results were still fantastic. Use your imagination.

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, about 2 minutes. Add the neck bones and let them brown, about 5 minutes. Add the ground veal, beef and sausage, and season with another healthy pinch of salt. Cook until the meat is browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in the white wine, tomatoes and their juice, and the bay leaves. Scrape 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 salt, to taste, 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 over medium heat. 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.

In a medium bowl mix together the ricotta, parsley, basil, oregano, eggs, and Parmesan with a pinch of salt.

Preheat the oven to 350˚.

Ladle about 1 cup of sauce on the bottom of a lasagna pan. Arrange a layer of noodles followed by a layer of sauce and then some of the ricotta mixture. Top with a layer of mozzarella, 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 aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour. Uncover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let it rest, 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

For a printable version of this recipe, please click here.

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