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Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Valentine's Day: Dinner and a Movie

Toujours l'amour...over at Radio Allegro, our Valentine's Day episode is up for your enjoyment, featuring Special Love Expert (and ModFab regular) Catherine from I Am Screaming and Punching Myself.

During that episode, each of us planned our perfect "Dinner and a Movie" for Valentine's Day. Because I find rich, fattening food especially loveable, here's ours:


Movie To Rent: Moonstruck, Cher's best film and the only film where opera, a wooden hand, and Vincent Gardenia can charm the pants off you and your sweetheart.

Wine To Drink: Kangarilla Road 2004 Shiraz. McLaren Vale, Australia

Food To Eat: ModFab's Moonstruck Lasagna
To Make Lasagna
1 lb package lasagna noodles
1 lb ground beef
1/4 lb ground pork
3/4 lb Italian sausage (thinly sliced)
1 lb button mushrooms (thinly sliced)
1 cup onions (chopped)
6 cloves garlic (minced)
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 eggs (lightly beaten)
30 oz. containers ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
1 cup pitted ripe black olives (sliced)
1 lb mozzarella cheese (shredded)
1 cup parmesan cheese (grated)

Prepare lasagna according to directions or buy fresh (even better!). Cook sausage in skillet, thinly slice crosswise and set aside. Brown ground beef and ground pork in skillet, drain off and discard fat. Add onion and garlic to the ground meat, stir and cook another 5 minutes. Add the sugar, salt, basil, fennel seeds, pepper and the Marinara sauce (directions below) and simmer for 20 minutes. Separately, combine eggs, Ricotta cheese, and parsley. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Take a 13 by 9 inch baking dish and spray with non-stick spray. Spoon in 1/3 of the meat sauce. Then layer 1/3 each of the lasagna pasta, the Ricotta mixture, olives, sliced Italian sausage, sliced mushrooms, Mozzarella and Parmesan. Repeat layering until all ingredients are used. Cover with aluminum foil, making certain that the foil is not touching the top of the lasagna, and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake, uncovered, another 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to sit 10 minutes before cutting.

To Make Marinara
2 (14 1/2 ounce) cans chunky crushed tomatoes
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic (cut in halves)
1 teaspoon chopped garlic, in juice (from jar)
1 shallot (diced)
2 tablespoons dried oregano
4 tablespoons dried Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Empty chunky crushed tomatoes and tomato paste into a pot. Add the extra-virgin olive oil. Slice the cloves of garlic crosswise into either halves or thirds or pieces, and dump them into the pot. Dice the shallot, and dump that into the pot. Add the rest of the ingredients, and stir to mix well with a large long handled wooden spoon. Do not strain, as the pulp adds to make this a thick and wonderful sauce. Cover and cook on medium heat, stirring every 10 minutes for about an hour or until it bubbles and is completely heated throughout. Reduce heat to simmer, and continue to simmer, stirring every 10 or 15 minutes to keep from burning or sticking to the bottom of the pot for 1 or 2 hours. Remove from heat and give it one last stir.



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