Young and Hungry

Granville Moore’s Maria Evans’ Christmas Lasagna

Young & Hungry asked some area chefs about some of their favorite holiday recipes. Maria Evans of Granville Moore's shared her family's recipe for lasagna, and as well as some insight about the dish:

Every Christmas, my family makes lasagna. It has been that way for as long as I can remember. There's no great story behind it, but it's an awesome recipe. We used to look forward to it because it was probably the only time of the year that we actually ate lasagna. My brother Francis or my sister Vicky would make the sauce and all the accompaniments, and they would let us kids help put it together. Becoming a chef, I have gone from observing the ALL DAY process to making it myself and adding my own little touches here and there. I come from a huge family in Newport, R.I., so after everyone does their individual family thing, everyone comes together at "The House" for lasagna for Christmas dinner... don't forget the salad and garlic bread.

Being as I'm not going home for Christmas this year, making a lasagna makes it a little like home when I can't be there with friends and family.

So, how does one make this Christmas lasagna?

Maria Evans' Lasagna

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground Beef
1 lb. Italian Sausage (out of casing)
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 tbsp. Italian Seasoning
1 large onion, diced
2 tbsp.  garlic, chopped
2 green peppers, diced
1 package crimini mushrooms, sliced
2 10 oz. cans diced tomatos
1 32 oz. jar tomato sauce
1 tsp. granulated sugar
10 fresh basil leaves
1 16 oz. package whole milk ricotta
2 tbsp. sour cream
2 cups shredded Parmesan
1 large egg
2 16 oz. packages whole milk mozzerella
2 packages lasagna noodles, cooked al dente
Kosher salt and course ground pepper to taste

Instructions:

1. In a cast iron skillet, cook sausage and ground beef over medium heat until well browned; season to taste with salt & pepper & crushed red pepper flakes. Add onions, garlic; cook until tender.  Add green peppers & mushrooms. Stir in diced tomatoes & tomato sauce. Season with sugar, Italian seasoning,  and salt & pepper to taste.  On medium-low heat, simmer, uncovered, for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Bring a large pot of  salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water.  Strain & mix lightly with olive oil to keep noodles from sticking together.
3. In a food processor, combine ricotta cheese with sour cream, egg, ½ cup of Parmesan, and 1 tsp. salt. Puree until smooth and creamy.  (You can do the same process in a mixing bowl; processor makes ricotta creamier.)
4. Preheat oven to 375 º F.
5. To assemble, spread meat sauce evenly in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce (slightly overlapping). Spread another layer of sauce, dollop ricotta cheese mixture about the sauce. Top with mozzarella cheese and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil; to prevent sticking, spray foil with cooking spray.
6. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

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