Monday, December 28, 2009

Kitchen Klutz: Christmas lasagna — Klutz style

Photo by Joe Maniscalco

By Michèle De Meglio

My mom cooks a feast every Christmas. Seriously.

The Eve is all about seafood. After enjoying mussels, fried shrimp and scallops last year, my family and I said, “Oh gosh, no!” when presented with salmon steaks the size of my head.

On Christmas day, my mom turns out a full Italian buffet highlighted by lasagna. Oh, lasagna. Soft pasta, sweet sauce and creamy cheese. Does it get any better?

I recently joined my mom in her Brooklyn kitchen to cook this traditional dish. C’mon, of course my mother was there. Do you think I could pull this off myself?

I prefer lasagna with just noodles, cheese and sauce but my mom added chopped meat since my brothers would be sharing this dish. Seems fitting since I did call them meatheads when we were kids. They deserved it!

We used every single bit of counter space to make the lasagna. Geez, this is hard work!

After my mom made her signature tomato sauce from scratch (I think I was modeling my new boots when she did this), we browned chopped meat in a frying pan. I whined and screeched when turning the meat. My aversion to carcass continues!

The cheese mixture was a combination of ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan. I was put in charge of mixing bowl duties (I bet my mom was sick of hearing me complain about the meat.)

Now for the fun part! Building the lasagna!

It’s kinda like building a house — a house made of gooey cheese and tomatoes! Using a 9-inch by 13-inch glass baking dish, we added layer upon layer of noodles, sauce and cheese. Then off it went into the oven.

Verdict: My mom is the greatest cook who ever lived! Her lasagna is the best in the world! Hey, I can make outlandish declarations. That’s my mama!

Kitchen Klutz follows 20-something Michèle De Meglio as she burns casseroles and her fingers, all in hope of trading frozen dinners for home cooking.


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