This Spaghetti Lasagna is off the beaten path. It’s a wonderful holiday side that is not only elegant but also easy to make!
In culinary elegance, the cliché is that there is a certain expectation of ‘complexity’ in ‘gourmet’ cooking, usually in the form of ‘couture plating’ where the presentation is given an importance akin to texture and flavor. Cue the Hollywood and tv-commercial jokes about small portions and unapproachable plates. However, this is merely a persistent cliché. Instead, one of the current leading trends, as presented by chefs such as Michael Simon, is the idea of ‘bringing it back to basics.’
After all, there is a point at which complexity reaches critical mass and defeats its intended purpose. Take for example Chef Julio Biosca who fought to remove his restaurant’s Michelin Star, claiming that the ‘weight of the star’ restricted his creativity, pulling him towards ‘complicated dishes.’ Likewise, upon receiving a star for Petersham Nursery Café, Skye Gyngell complained that her guests had begun expecting formal dining, and after an unsuccessful battle to ‘de-star’ the café ended up resigning.
I honestly found myself relating to precisely this sentiment following an overlong stint in the kitchen the night before Thanksgiving, which was followed by the typical rush of Thanksgiving Day and dinner themselves. I struggled not to picture myself in the kitchen scenes from the movie Burnt where Bradley Cooper’s character was vying for Michelin stars of his own. Needless to say, the idea of ‘returning to basics’ had hardly ever sounded so inviting.
That said, I decided on throwing a sort of ‘post-holiday dinner party’ for myself and the crew of Living the Gourmet. The idea was simple, set aside a night for a family favorite recipe and relaxation. To return to basics, I put together a classic ‘Spaghetti Lasagna.’ I started out, of course, with the sauce, which I put together with roasted garlic, fresh Italian parsley, capers, and fresh ground black pepper. Then I prepared the ricotta with eggs, parsley, mozzarella, parmesan, and the seasonings outlined below. Once that was done, I mixed the spaghetti with the ricotta and sauce, set the spaghetti in a prepared baking dish, topped with more sauce and cheese, and baked.
Of course, in my home, any dinner party is still a dinner party. To plate the Lasagna, I cut it into diamonds, arranged it over my Mary Jurek 18/8 Stainless Steel Platter, set the garnish, and it was ready to serve. This being the first time I’ve used this platter in a post, I’ll note that aside from looking absolutely fabulous, the platter is durable and dishwasher safe, making it the perfect combination of beauty and utility.
15 minPrep Time
30 minCook Time
45 minTotal Time
- 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
- 1 sweet onion – sliced
- 4 cloves of garlic
- ¼ cup of fresh Italian parsley – chopped
- 1 tbs. capers – chopped
- ¼ tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- ¼ tsp. sugar
- ½ tsp. fresh ground black pepper
- 3 tbs. olive oil
- 1 lb. of spaghetti - prepared as directed
- 32 oz. ricotta cheese
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup fresh Italian parsley – chopped
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. black pepper
- ½ tsp. sugar
- 2 cups of shredded mozzarella (one cup for the ricotta cheese and one cup for the top of the lasagna)
- ½ cup of grated parmesan cheese ( ¼ cup for the ricotta cheese and ¼ cup for the top of the lasagna)
- 4 tbs. of olive oil
- Heat a heavy sauce pot with the olive oil. Add the onion, garlic, capers and parsley and simmer on a low heat until the garlic is fragrant and the onions are softened.
- Add the crushed tomatoes and seasonings and simmer on a low gentle heat.
- Prepare the spaghetti as directed.
- Place the ricotta cheese in a large bowl.
- Add the eggs, parsley, 1 cup of mozzarella, ¼ cup of parmesan cheese and seasonings and beat with a fork until the cheese is smooth.
- Place the spaghetti in a large bowl and add one cup of the sauce and toss. Add the prepared ricotta cheese and toss gently so that you do not break the spaghetti.
- Prepare the bottom of a baking dish with 2 tbs. of the olive oil.
- Place the spaghetti in the prepared baking dish. Top with 2 – 3 tbs. of sauce and one cup of the shredded mozzarella cheese and ¼ cup of the Parmesan cheese.
- Preheat Oven 350 degrees F.
- Bake 25 - 30 minutes
- Let the dish cool before cutting so that the pieces come out nice and whole.
- Serve with the extra sauce and fresh grating cheese.
Needless to say, this was precisely the sort of relaxed evening I needed after the big Thanksgiving rush. What are some of the ways you recharge after the holidays? We would love to hear from you.
Enjoy with Love!