Bun-jurno! Welcome to a special Italiano edition of Caker Cooking, sponsored by Ragù. (Okay, maybe not, but a caker can dream.)
In one week, I leave for Italy! (Or, as my mom calls it, “It-lee.”) This is a pretty big deal for someone who wasn’t allowed to cross the street until high school graduation. I’ll be travelling with all my in-laws. That’s 11 Italians. For 14 days. Something tells me I may need earplugs.
As most of you know, it was the Italians who called us “cakers” in the first place. And while that term isn’t exactly complimentary, a caker never holds a grudge. So I’m making this lasagna and bringing it to share with the people of Italy. (So long as the flight crew doesn’t get to it first. LOL!)
Caker lasagna is very similar to traditional Italian lasagna, only it has cottage cheese. And garlic powder. And, uh, tomato soup. And, well, canned mushrooms. But aside from that, pretty identical. I made this lasagna for my Italian better half and while he was “schkeeved” at first, who do you think went back for a second helping? (Leaving a trail of Pino Silvestre behind him, I might add.) Then I took some to my mom and she said it was the best lasagna she ever tasted! Not that she has the highest standards. Anyways, it's good.
Next week is the first-ever Pieathalon! A bunch of food bloggers got together and exchanged pie recipes. What did I get stuck with? Alls I’ll say is, “Check, mate.”
In closing, I have a few words I’d like to say to the people of Italy. I’ve asked my Italian partner to translate.
"Dear people of Italy, I hope you enjoy this lasagna. I love your food, especially Pizza Hut pizza. I’m looking forward to visiting the childhood home of one of my idols, Chef Boyardee. See you soon."
"Gente d'Italia, correte!!! Vi raccomando di non mangiare questa lasagna di mangia-cake!!! Questi mangia-cake hanno massacrato la nostra cultura!!! Non posso continuare a mangiare questo cibo!!! Aiuto!!!"
1 pound ground beef
1 chopped onion
3 teaspoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon oregano
1 can tomato soup
1 can tomato paste
½ cup water
2 cups cottage cheese
2 eggs, beaten
9 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained (see note 1)
8 ounces mozzarella
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
Heat oven to 350°. Fry beef, onion and spices. Drain. Add soup, paste and water. (See note 2) Boil and reduce heat. Simmer 30 minutes. Stir. Combine cottage cheese and eggs. Add to meat mixture. Arrange 3 alternate layers of noodles, meat mixture, mozzarella cheese, noodles, etc. Bake for 45 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.
Note 1: I’m sorry, but 9 noodles didn’t cut it. I did 4 layers of 4 noodles. So 16 in total. I think. I failed math. Just use the whole box. Remember to save some sauce to spread on the top layer. I used no-boil noodles (of course) but the top layer got dried-out. You might want to consider using the boil kind. Also, try reserving some of the sauce to put on the top layer of noodles.
Note 2: For nutritional reasons, my mom always added canned mushrooms to her lasagna, so I did the same at this point.
Source: This recipe book doesn’t have a cover, but I think it’s by Eatons employees.