Our next stop on the 50 states, 50 recipes tour is;
NEW JERSEY: http://www.50states.com/newjerse.htm
State capital: Trenton
Largest City: Newark
Admission to the Union: December 18th, 1787 third state to join the union
New Jersey’s greatest natural resource is its location, which has made the state a crossroads of commerce. Other commercial advantages include its extensive transportation system, which puts one quarter of all United States consumers within overnight delivery range. Lake and seaside resorts such as Atlantic City have contributed to New Jersey’s rank of fifth among the states in revenues from tourism. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Jersey)
In my research on the state of New Jersey, like many other states, tourism is a vital part of their economy. Here are a few sites for information and tourism.
New Jersey is one of those states that it felt until recently was an afterthought. With the popularity of television shows like “The Sopranos”, “Cake Boss”, “Jersey Shore” and a new governor making headlines, New Jersey has come into it’s own. My cousin Antonia lives in New Jersey and this recipe for no-boil lasagna comes from her kitchen. For those of you interested in seeing how it’s made, she’s generously agreed to Vlog it for us…recipe is below!
Cousin Antonia’s No-Boil Lasagna
1 BOX Barilla Lasagna, Oven Ready
2 JARS Marinara sauce
2 CANS diced tomatoes
generous amount of red cooking wine
15 OUNCES Ricotta Cheese
4 CUPS Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded, Divided
1/2 CUP Parmesan Cheese, Grated
1 package Jimmy Dean sausage
1 POUND ground beef
GARLIC powder or fresh
Basil, Oregano and Bay leaves
PREHEAT oven to 375°F.
BROWN the meat in a skillet over medium heat add garlic, oregano, basil as desired, drain.
BEAT eggs in a medium bowl; stir in ricotta, 2 cups of mozzarella and the Parmesan. ADD garlic to mixture for extra flavor
HEAT sauce in large pot, add garlic, basil, oregano and 3 bay leaves to sauce. MIX in tomatoes and generous splash of red wine. Add browned meat and let simmer on low heat for as long as possible.
OVERLAP sheets slightly when layering Lasagna. Lasagna will expand to the edges during cooking. Spread fillings to edges to seal in and cook the Lasagna during baking.
LAYER in the following order:
SPREAD 1 cup meat sauce on bottom of baking pan or enough to cover pan.
LAYER 4 uncooked Lasagna sheets, 1/2 of ricotta mixture, enough sauce to cover
REPEAT with noodles, cheese mixture, sauce and noodles
ON LAST LAYER OF NOODLES- cover with remaining sauce and 2 cups of shredded mozzarella.
COVER pan with foil.
BAKE until bubbly, approximately 50-60 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160°F.
UNCOVER and continue cooking until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting. Serve with garlic bread, salad and glass of good wine (if any is leftover after cooking)
The thing I’ve noticed about most family recipes is that they start out with an actual recipe and over time are changed and modified to fit the needs or flavors of the people involved. Cousin Antonia has a recipe that makes the noodles, sauce and even the sausage from scratch and I’ve enjoyed that at many family holidays. However, for a day to day lasagna this recipe seems to be less time consuming and just as flavor filled. Cousin Antonia took Nana’s recipe and made it her own. We suggest you do the same.
The ingredients were all found at my local grocery store. Cousin Antonia doesn’t like to admit that it all comes from canned goods and instant pasta- but as far as I’m concerned the time saved in pre-packaged ingredients is time that can be spent with family. She uses Barilla no-boil lasagna noodles, they say it on the package. She prefers the Ragu sauce, but Barilla makes a great sauce as well. Her canned tomatoes are Hunt’s, but the debate rages on about which sausage to use. I prefer the Jimmy Dean brand- she uses Italian sausage from her local butcher. We also disagree about the cheeses… she prefers to use all freshly grated Parmesan, and buffalo Mozzarella, while I’m fine with Kraft. If you have the time or the funds to make this from scratch, it will be delicious or as she says- Delicioso! Otherwise feel free to use my short cuts… they’re just as tasty!
Since cousin Antonia is going to produce a video giving you instructions on how to cook this lasagna, I won’t bore you with the details. But be sure to use DEEP pan for this, as the sauce likes to boil over in the oven making a big mess!
Review: scale of 1-5 stars; the more stars the better
Ease of preparation: **** although very time consuming with all the waiting it’s still easy to make
Cost of ingredients: **** depending on brands you use, you’ll pay for better flavor
Taste: ***** DELICIOSO! – according to everyone, including the fire department who enjoyed meeting cousin Antonia!
Nutrition: ***** lots of goodness and not a lot of harm aside from the cheeses maybe, but the health benefits of the garlic probably outweigh the harm of the cheeses!
I have to admit it was strange having someone else cook in my kitchen. But cousin Antonia is one of those rare people that when you meet her you just know whatever she says or cooks will be wickedly good. I often say, if you ain’t got nothin’ good to say about someone come sit next to me, but I couldn’t say anything but good about her. Cousin Antonia is such a wonderful cook it was a pleasure for me to take a break and watch a master at work. You’ll see how wonderful it was when the video is posted! So until next week when we head to Pennsylvania may all your journeys be safe and your eats be good!