Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
Your heart is true you’re a pal and a confidant.
And if you through a party
Invited everyone you ever knew
You would see the biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say thank you for being a friend.
The ’80s was such a good era for television. We had great shows like Magnum PI, Dallas, Designing Women, and Three’s Company. Each bringing it’s own form of quality to the small screen. We watched as they dealt with rising topics of the time. Nothing was off topic for one of my favorite shows of all time, The Golden Girls.
I don’t think anyone at the time knew the impact the show would have. I’m sure they didn’t think that 30 years after the original air date that the show would still be on the air. Sheridan and I watch it very night on our local Hallmark channel. When it’s not on, oh sad day, we simply pop in a dvd disc from our complete series collection from the inside of Sophia’s purse. Then once again we find ourselves sitting in the kitchen with Dorthy, Blanche, Rose, and Sophia; enjoying a slice of cheesecake and sipping coffee.
Today I’m not honoring their love of cheesecake, but the legacy of Sophia’s Lasagna Al Forno. According to Dorthy, played by the legendary Bea Arthur, Sophia only made this dish for two occasions; funerals or when she needed a favor. I am making it for neither. I just simply love pasta in any and all forms. I could eat it all day, every day.
This lasagna isn’t loaded with melted cheese or a ricotta filling. It is as it should be, classic Italian. Should I say Sicilian? The ricotta cheese layer is an American thing, replacing the creamy bechamel like layer in most authentic style lasagnas. I will say that I did wait until the lasagna was chilled before taking the photo. As we all know, steaming hot lasagna fresh from the oven doesn’t make for a good picture as it tends to go flat.
Stay Golden Friends, and Enjoy this Lasagna!!
Lasagna Al Forno
3 Tsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 lb. ground pork
2 Tsp. tomato paste
3/4 c. red wine
3 (28 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 c. beef broth
2 bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks
Heat a large pot over medium high heat. When pan is hot, add the pork and ground beef season with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 3/4 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper. Brown and crumble the meats, drain well and set aside. Return the pan to the heat and add the olive oil. Add the onions and remaining salt, pepper, and the red pepper; cook until slightly translucent. Return the meat to the pot and add the tomato paste, stir well and cook 30 seconds. Add the wine, tomatoes, broth, bay leaves, and cinnamon, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer for 1 hour.
For the Cream Sauce
6 Tsp. unsalted butter
6 Tsp. all-purpose flour
3 c. whole milk, warm**
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook 3 to 4 minutes. Whisk in the warm milk, salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and cook until the sauce is thick and smooth, about 6 minutes.
**If you make the cream sauce too soon, you may need to add an addition 1/4 c. of milk to thin it back down. Just add it little by little until it returns to the original consistency.
For the Lasagna
1 lb. no-boil lasagna noodles
2 1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
To make the lasagna, heat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Butter a 9- by 13-inch baking dish, set aside. Place about 1 cup of the meat sauce in the bottom of the baking dish and layer with 4 lasagna noodles. Place another cup of meat sauce over the noodles, followed by a cup of cream sauce and a third of the cheese. Repeat with the remaining noodles and sauces, ending with the cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until the top is golden, 15 to 20 minutes.