MOUNT PEARL, NL – Luckily I have a few other foodies at work. Danielle, who shared some fresh lime leaves from her lime tree with me when I couldn’t find them at the store for my Thai soup recipe, and Shannon, whose mother, Virginia, prepared some of the recipes in this column with her granddaughter, Emily.
I’m told they love gathering in the kitchen on Sundays to spend time together while cooking family meals. What’s better than hearing from families who share the simple art of cooking and baking?
warms my heart
There is no doubt that there is much more to preparing and eating food than a full tummy.
“The most indispensable ingredient of any good home cooking: love for those you cook for.”
– Sophia Loren
I was treated to a small piece of their homemade lasagna and my taste buds literally melted – in a good way. It’s filled with calming ingredients and flavors. What really struck me is that it’s not made with the traditional red tomato sauce. Rather, you’re making a béchamel sauce from scratch. Another difference for me is that it’s made with a mixture of ground veal (or ground beef) and ground pork. Oh, it has delicious pancetta too.
Given my reaction, Shannon came the next day with a handwritten prescription from her mother.
I was so excited. Not just for the sake of a beautifully handwritten recipe (which deserves a column of its own), but because I couldn’t wait to make it for my mom, who rarely has tomatoes in her diet anymore due to the acidic nature of the fruit.
Yes, tomato is a fruit.
Full disclosure, there are far too many ingredients and steps to write it all down.
As you can see from the title, it’s called Lucy Waverman’s Lasagna. I googled this and finally found it in a Globe and Mail article as Lucy Waverman is an author, food journalist and columnist who wrote about this lasagna titled “A Lasagna to Love” in 2005.
So true, Lucy, so true.
Basically, this recipe consists of three parts. There are the ingredients for the meat sauce, béchamel sauce and lasagna noodles.
The thing about this recipe is that you need time on your part. It’s the kind of recipe that’s perfect for a day when you have the late afternoon or early evening to cook at leisure and not be rushed or stressed. You know the kind — where you just want to relax, pour a glass of wine, and enjoy making it rather than treating it like a chore.
Remember, lasagna ages beautifully, like spaghetti, so maybe make it the day before.
“I’ve never met a lasagna I didn’t like.”
The meat sauce is divine. I mean, come on, anything made from scratch is 100 percent better. The meat sauce is loaded with flavors of olive oil, pancetta, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, parsley, pork, beef, white wine, canned tomatoes, beef broth, and tomato paste.
In my humble opinion, it’s the béchamel sauce that truly gives this lasagna recipe five gourmet gold stars. It’s so easy but absolutely delicious when paired with the meat sauce. It contains butter, flour, milk, a bay leaf and a pinch of nutmeg.
I used dried pasta. I also learned a helpful tip by placing the parboiled pasta in individual layers on parchment paper at the end. This makes them easier to manage when layering the lasagna. If not, they’d end up all tangled in a colander and likely rip apart if you tried to rip them apart.
“People who love to eat are always the best people.” — Julia Kind
From one foodie to another, I hope you enjoy Lucy Waverman’s Lasagna, compliments from Virginia Stoddard. It’s great as a meal on its own, with a side of bread or a salad.
However you decide to serve it – it’s definitely edible.
Erin Sulley is a self-confessed foodie living in Mount Pearl, NL. E-mail: [email protected] Instagram: @erinsulley
2 796 milliliter cans of tomatoes
¼ cup olive oil
2 ounces pancetta, chopped
2 cups chopped onion
½ cup finely chopped carrots
½ cup chopped celery
2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
1 pound ground veal
1 pound ground beef
Salt and freshly ground pepper
½ cup white wine
2 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
½ cup butter
½ cup flour
6 cups of milk
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground pepper
pinch of nutmeg
14 lasagna pasta (approx)
1 recipe béchamel sauce
1 recipe meat sauce
2 cups grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
Dice and reserve the tomatoes. (Juices can be saved for another recipe.)
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and sauté for 1 minute.
Add onions, carrots, and celery and cook gently for 10 minutes or until vegetables are very tender and beginning to brown. Stir in the garlic and parsley and cook for a further 3 minutes.
Increase heat to medium. Add veal and pork and stir to break up any clumps of ground beef. Fry for about 5 minutes until the meat loses its pink color. Season with salt and pepper.
Add wine and cook until wine is mostly evaporated and mixture is tart, about 4 minutes. Stir in the broth, tomato paste, and reserved tomatoes.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 1½ hours, then remove the lid and turn the heat to medium-low. The sauce should be thick and very tasty.
Simmer gently for a few minutes if too thin. Reseason if necessary. Makes about 9 cups of sauce.
Heat butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. When the butter has melted, stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute or until the flour is cooked, being careful not to brown the flour.
Remove from the heat and slowly stir in the milk.
Add bay leaf, reheat and bring to a boil while stirring. Season well with salt and pepper and a pinch of nutmeg. Makes about 6 cups.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Add noodles and boil again. Cook according to package directions, usually about 10 minutes. Drain pasta and use tongs to place in a single layer on a tea towel or parchment paper.
Butter or oil a 9 x 13 inch ovenproof gratin dish.
Spread a thin layer of béchamel sauce on the base.
Divide the remaining béchamel sauce and meat sauce into 3 portions.
Cover the béchamel layer with pasta. Cover pasta with one third béchamel sauce and one third meat sauce. Sprinkle with ½ cup parmesan cheese.
Repeat the layering twice and finish with meat sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan and drizzle with butter.
Preheat oven to 400 F. Bake pasta in the top third of the oven for 45 minutes or until a crust forms on top and the filling is bubbling. Cover loosely with foil for the last 10 minutes if the lasagne gets too dark.