My dad is an amazing person and a wonderful father. I live in California and he lives in my home state of Illinois and I don't get to see him nearly as much as I'd like to. Both my husband and I miss him very much. Last week my dad went through a major surgery. He did not want me to fly home for his operation, probably because I become nearly hysterical just thinking about the possibility that he may by unwell. So, instead, I sat by the phone waiting for updates on his condition. Fortunately, the surgery went well and he is feeling pretty good. What a huge relief! I am planning on visiting him when he is recovered, which hopefully will be very soon.
Because my dad is thousands of mile away I rarely get to cook for him, something which I love to do. Since I can't make him all his favorite foods while he is recuperating, I decided to make one of his favorite dishes here, in California, and that way I could be with him in spirit. I made lasagna because my dad loves homemade lasagna. I make many versions of lasagna but this one is my dad's favorite - lots of cheese and a thick rich tomato sauce. It turned out to be the mother of all lasagnas, weighing in at about 9 or 10 lbs. It will not go to waste though as I am a big believer in cooking, freezing, and reheating. Plus, my husband has a huge appetite. It is actually embarrassing to go to a salad bar with him because his plate is piled higher than my head. And that is just his first plate. Amazingly, with all he eats he manages to keep his boyish figure and his cholesterol at an acceptable level.
So... this is the lasagna I made for my father.
Get well soon dad!
There isn't a really specific recipe for this lasagna. It is basically a marinara sauce with veggies, mozzarella, parmesan and ricotta. I think the important thing is to have really high quality ingredients. For the sauce I use: two big cans of San Marzano tomatoes from Italy - the whole peeled tomatoes which I puree in the blender, two cans of tomato paste, a little diced onion, garlic, oregano, a little celery salt, some grated carrot and a little hot sauce. I also add in a bunch of sliced zucchini and mushrooms - to up the veggie factor. I saute the veggies in a bit of olive oil before adding the rest of the ingredients. I let the sauce cook for quite awhile until it gets nice and thick. Cook it over low heat as it burns easily.
I layer the noodles, cheeses and sauce in a big lasagna pan, and bake until the top is browned.