Aunt Julie’s Lasagna

My Aunt Julie and Uncle Phil Silvagio are the “memory keepers” of our grandparents’ lasagna recipe. It’s our Christmas day tradition to have a slab of gooey, cheesy, meaty, pasta. My grandfather, Pappy Joe, had some rules about layering. No sauce on the ricotta cheese layer! It turns the cheese pink and well, no one wants to eat pink cheese.

Phil, Julie & Sophia

Since Sophie was little, Phil and Julie have been giving her a lasagna lesson before Christmas so she will know just what to do when it’s her turn to make Christmas dinner. This means we make a giant pan or two the week before and freeze it. Julie bakes it right out of the freezer. She puts a few pats of butter on top before baking. She says it’s another “Pappy Joe” trick.

No sauce on the ricotta layer

Here’s the recipe:

5 eggs
32 ounce container ricotta cheese
2-4 boxes lasagna noodles
Mixture of salami & pepperoni
Mixture of Parmesan, Mozzarella, Provolone, and Monterey Jack cheeses
Parmesan for sprinkling
A large jar or two of sauce or your own
Heavy duty foil

Cook the noodles as directed. Then, place them in a bowl of cool water, so they are easy to handle.

Combine eggs and ricotta cheese.

Julie advises you spray your pan with cooking spray. I use a disposable pan. Who wants to clean up all that caked-on, baked-on cheese?

Mozzarella mixture
Ricotta mixture
Sprinkle of Parmesan
Noodles in opposite direction of last layer (think basket weave)
Salami and pepperoni mixture
Sprinkle of Parmesan

Keep layering until you use up your supplies. Finish with a layer of noodles, bit of sauce and sprinkle of Parmesan.

Before you bake, cut a stick of cold butter into chunks. Put it all over the top of the lasagna. Bake at 350 until done. If it is thawed, should take 45 minutes. If frozen, longer. Keep checking the middle.

Pappy Joe would place the pan on foil and wrap it around the bottom of the pan. This captures all of the juices and cheesy goodness as they overflow during baking.