John Lennon and Paul McCartney
What is love? I find myself pondering that on many occasions, but obviously more on this day in particular. I have a love/hate relationship with Valentine’s Day- I mean, if you wait 364 days to show the apple of your eye what they really mean to you, well then I think trouble is a brewin’; but who doesn’t love an excuse to be wholly and completely dedicated to love? In truth, I have never been in a relationship when this holiday comes around; I’ve either been completely single or in a complicated situation, so I have never indulged or been indulged in the excess that is Valentine’s Day. But I have very high hopes!
Every Valentine’s Day I like to reinvent my thinking and look at it simply as a love day- and in this re-evaluation I realize how truly blessed I am to have so much love in my life. I have a great family- who I love and appreciate more and more as the day’s progress- and great friends who inspire me to be a better person. Yesterday while sitting around the table enjoying a lovely meal with friends, I felt fulfilled and completely happy. Could it have been the lasagna that I doted over lovingly for hours? Or maybe it was the three glasses of wine I enjoyed? Likely it was the company I was keeping. Either way love- the love between friends, the love of food and the love of life- was in the air!
Today of all days is the day to sit and reflect on the love we all have in our lives; and today serves as a reminder to us all to say loud, proud and often, to the people who mean the most- I love you!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Valentine’s Day Lasagna
For the sauce
5 Italian Sausages- casing removed
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1 cup canned diced tomatoes, drained of half their liquid
3 cloves of garlic, minced
For the filling
1 ½ cups ricotta cheese
2 cups Crimini mushrooms, sliced
2 stalks of Swiss chard- sliced into strips
1 box lasagna noodles
½ cup oregano
½ cup Asiago, for topping
2 ½ tsp salt
1 ¼ tsp pepper
4 tbsp olive oil
In a pan heated to medium high heat, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil; add the mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes. Add the Swiss chard and cook for another 1 minute. Season with 1 tsp of salt and a ¼ tsp of salt. Remove from heat and add the ricotta. Set aside.
Meanwhile, in a pot of boiling salted water, cook the lasagna noodles until they are pliable enough to roll- about 6 minutes. Drain and toss with 2 tbsp of olive oil, to ensure they don’t stick while cooling.
In another pan, heated to medium high heat, add 1 tbsp olive and add the minced garlic and sausage meat. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until the meat is almost fully cooked. Add both the diced and crushed tomatoes; season with 1 ½ tsp of salt and 1 tsp pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, add the filling to each lasagna noodle and roll it up. And preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Once the sauce is ready, spoon enough sauce to cover the bottom of the baking dish. Arrange the noodle rolls closely in the dish and sprinkle the oregano evenly over the noodle rolls. Generously spoon the prepared sauce over the noodle rolls, until they are completely covered. Sprinkle the Asiago over the sauce and cover with foil.
Bake for 15 minutes covered. Then remove the foil and change oven setting to broil and cook until cheese is golden and bubbling- about 3 minutes. DO NOT WALK AWAY DURING THIS TIME, IT WILL BURN!!!!