Wednesday, July 29, 2015

“Mama’s Lasagna” Recipe, For "National Lasagna Day" Plus Exciting News From Michéal Castaldo

Beneventi a tutti…Welcome everyone…. I know that this is not my usual day to post, but I have had technical problems with my computer and did not post anything last Friday. Thanks to my computer man, George…I am back posting more stories and more delicious recipes. So with that being said, I have to wish everyone, a “Happy National Lasagna Day!” Yes, an entire day dedicated to “Lasagna,” who knew! 

National Lasagna Day” is celebrated in the United States every July 29th. Originally from the Emilia Romagna region which is the center of northern Italy and includes a tradition of fresh rich foods. Each region in Italy has their own way of creating Lasagna. In the southern regions the sauce is likely to be a simple Tomato or Ragu, where in other areas like the northern part of  Italy a Béchamel sauce (white and creamy) is used. In Italy and the United States the fillings may vary as well. You can create a vegetarian filling such as spinach or eggplant, onions and garlic, tasty tuna or seafood, sausages and a wide selection of sharp cheeses. Lasagna has become a familiar dish in many other places of the world, from Europe to America. Who doesn’t love Italian food?  Through the years Italian mothers and grandmothers have prepared and created many fabulous recipes for their families.

The origins of Lasagna dates back to the 1st century B.C. where a common meal consisting of fine sheets of fried dough were called “lagana.” In the 2nd century a Greek scholar provided a recipe for lagana that was made with sheets of wheat flour and the juice of crushed lettuce, then flavored with spices and deep fried in oil. An early 5th century cookbook describes a dish of lagana that consisted of layers of dough with meat stuffing which sounds like our modern day Lasagna. When Italians immigrated to the United States they brought with them many cooking recipes and traditions. Lasagna is made with either rippled or flat noodles. Rippled noodles are common in southern Italy but rarely used in northern Italy. Rippled noodles are most popular in the United States.

Lasagna is made by towering layers of lasagna noodles packed with a creamy filling and made with a homemade meat sauce. The combination of spices, ricotta, mozzarella, and Pecorino Romano grated cheeses, are what I would call the most perfect Italian dish. It consists of your whole meal in one Lasagna pan. From your preparation, to taking it out of the oven and seeing it bubble with cheese on the top, plus the aroma floating around your kitchen is simply heavenly. Throughout the years, Lasagna still and always will be a favorite among my family and guests around my kitchen table.
My recommendation for pairing wine with Lasagna is Red Zinfandel. The color of a Zinfandel wine is deep red, bordering on black. Zinfandel is a spicy, peppery wine, with a hint of fruity flavors that include berries or dark cherries. The rule of wines is that you want to drink from light to dark. Therefore, Champagne tends to go very well with appetizers. White wine is usually a match for salads and lighter dishes, while red wine works perfectly with steaks and heavier meat sauces. Port wine is often the perfect end to a meal, especially with a chocolate dessert.

To celebrate "National Lasagna Day," I want to share my mother’s recipe with all of you. Enjoy your Lasagna or in Italian (Godetevi il vostro lasagna) and make it a tradition at your family table. 

                                                      “Mama’s Lasagna

1 lb Lasagna noodles (your choice)
16 oz Ricotta cheese
1 lb of Mozzarella cheese (sliced or cubed)
3 /4 cup Grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 Egg
Salt and Black pepper to taste
Favorite Tomato Sauce w/meat or without (click on link and it will bring you to my Grandmother's sauce recipe.)

Boil water with a little salt and a little drizzled oil in a large pot. (The oil helps the Lasagna noodles not to stick) Add your Lasagna noodles to the water and let it cook for about 7 minutes. Drain the water and rinse the noodles with cold water so they do not stick, while you are preparing the filling. You want the noodles to be a little firm as you will be cooking them again in the oven. Mix together in a large bowl, ricotta cheese, egg, mozzarella, salt and pepper.

Preheat your oven to 375° F degrees. Take a 9x13 inch baking dish and spoon some tomato sauce on bottom of baking dish so the lasagna will not stick. Now layer your ingredients starting with the noodles. Next, assemble a layer of the ricotta cheese mixture over your noodles. Now, spread some tomato sauce over the cheese. Duplicate this process with all the layers and finish off with some mozzarella and a small amount of grated cheese on top. Bake for about 45 minutes to an hour until the top is slightly browned and the cheese is bubbling. Let the Lasagna rest for 15 minutes so it is easier to serve. Garlic bread and a wonderful Italian green salad is a delightful addition to this dish. Mangia!

You can also add cooked chopped meat to the tomato sauce or even sliced or ground sausage without the casing. You can also use the no boil Lasagna noodles.


                 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Exciting News from Michéal Castaldo!

My readers and followers know my personal friend, Michéal Castaldo. He is an Award-winning songwriter, producer, recording artist, and entrepreneur. He is announcing the Fifth Anniversary release of his very popular album called “Aceto.” What makes this very special is the fact that it is a high-resolution digital release. With the growing popularity of online streaming sites, high-resolution audio for music is able to deliver sound that is exceptionally better than standard CDs and MP3s. Every sound created in the recording studio will be clearly delivered to the listening audience in celebration of this beautifully inspirational album. It will be available on iTunes, Pono, Tidal, Amazon Music, and Spotify on August 18, 2015.

“Aceto,” honors Michéal’s late father Pasquale. The “Aceto” album includes 22 classic and original Italian songs whose themes evoke feelings of grace, healing, and remembrance. Michéal has said, “The “Aceto” recordings offer elegant harmonic structures and flowing melodic lines, I chose them because they helped me heal and hope that they will put listeners in an introspective mood.”

Some of the songs on the “Aceto” album are ones that have been heard before, but most were never performed in Italian before Michéal sang them. Unlike his peers who simply translate songs, Michéal Castaldo takes a different approach to his music. For “Aceto,” he carefully chose 22 classic songs that have withstood the test of time across many cultures and put his own creative spin on them to produce old songs with a fresh, new sound. The high resolution audio simply takes Michéal’s music to another level of listening pleasure. Please support Michéal and his music by visiting iTunes, Pono, Tidal, Amazon Music, and Spotify on August 18, 2015. Michéal Castaldo sends you his sincere thanks. For more information about Michéal Castaldo, his music, or his concert tour, please visit

Till Next Time…..

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  1. I love lasagna! It was one of the first "company" dishes that I mastered. Yours looks terrific -- gotta try it! Thanks so much.

    1. Hi John,
      Thanks for your comment and you are correct I love lasagna too. It is a good dish to prepare for company as it is in the one pan, so easy cleanup after your guests have had their fill. Have a great day! Now off to visit your post, another cocktail...fabulous!
      Dottie :)

  2. Oh lasagna! Just say that word and my mouth begins to water. It is such a wonderful dish, it feels like Sunday, so rich, so creamy, so delicious..
    I like your recipe and if this is your mamma's recipe it must be amazing! I can see your mom comes from the south as this is a truly southern recipe. With ricotta and mozzarella it is delicious. Thank you for sharing this Dottie. I hope you are feeling better and enjoying summer xxx

    1. Dear Alida,
      So good to hear from you...I am so glad that I am back online and back to normal. Thanks for your comment. You are right my friend, I feel the same way about Lasagna, it is so delizioso! Yes, this is my mom's recipe which was passed down from my grandmother. It is truly something to enjoy any day. My mom's family is from the southern part of Italy, Calabria. So glad you enjoyed this post and recipe. Hope that you are enjoying your summer as well. Enjoy! Ciao!
      Dottie xx :)

  3. Dear Dottie, That dish certainly looks good. It has been so warm that to put the oven just is not possible. I am looking forward to the cooler weather to enjoy these delicious dishes.
    Stay well. Hugs, xoxo Catherine

    1. Dear Catherine,
      This dish can never go out of has been too warm out, but with the a/c on it isn't bad. I also am looking forward to the cooler weather and the will be here soon enough. You be well too..Thanks for your thoughts..Have a wonderful and blessed rest of the day!
      Dottie :)