The Inaugural Show – The Lasagna Talk-off

Today, we got together with family for a friendly discussion about current political trends and issues, as well as to share some lasagna, without fighting.  Vinny Minchillo hosted, while I, Cynthia Minchillo cooked.  Our special guest today was Joey Minchillo, our cousin.  Some of our video was provded by Everett Newton, Attorney at Law, kitchen utensils provided by Barbara Minchillo, and production by Vinny Minchillo.
Vinny is the quintessential ad guy, except he has sold his soul to the Republicans.  He is also my brother.  My Cousin Joey is a Tea Party fanatic, but he describes his affiliation as one of a concerned American citizen.  I’m just a paralegal that leans towards the left depending on what we are talking about, with crazy opinions and ideas.

While I love cooking, I suck at it.  I also love to discuss politics, and really like to hear the opinions of others.  All of this put together makes our new endeavor, Political Cookin’, now at

Today, we discussed (nicely) the possible extension of tax cuts, the WikiLeaks debacle, Sarah Palin’s potential presidential bid (say that three times fast), and the Dream Act, (all topics I have no business discussing).  Despite getting lost in the discussion, I managed to make a pan of lasagna as well as a glaze topping for an Italian dessert.  Below are the recipes, although I make no guarantees now or in the future that this will come out well.  Use your own imagination and taste buds to tailor my recipe for your own kitchen.

You will need the following:
Lasagna noodles, (1 and 1/2 packages), boiled in water and a splash of Olive Oil (so they do not stick) and drained when done.
9 X 13 glass baking dish
1 pound of ground beef or Italian sausage browned and drained (I recommend Italian sausage)
Ricotta cheese
Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 large can of whole peeled tomatoes
1 small can of tomato paste
garlic powder
1 bay leaf

Create your sauce in a blender by blending the whole peeled tomatoes, tomato paste, and all of the spices to taste.  Pour in a sauce pan, add the bay leaf and turn on low.  Let the sauce simmer for one hour.

When the sauce is ready, the sausage is browned and the noodles are cooked and drained, warm the oven to 350 degrees.

In your baking dish, add a small amount of sauce and spread it around the bottom.  Add a layer of lasagna noodles by laying them flat over the sauce.  Add a layer of Ricotta cheese by spreading it over the noodles with a spatula.  Add a layer of sausage, sprinkle a layer of Mozzarella cheese and then another layer of sauce.  Start the process all over by adding another layer of lasagna noodles, etc.  End the process with a layer of noodles on top.  Some people add a layer of cheese on top of the noodles.  Cover with foil, and bake for 30 minutes.

Panettone Bread Glaze
Panettone is a traditional Italian soft sweet bread that contains nuts and raisins.  You can purchase them during the holidays at just about any store or you can order them from Williams-Sonoma.  You will also need:

1 small Panettone bread
1/2 cup of heavy cream
1/4 to 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
a dash of Grand Marnier (or other flavored liqueur)

Melt the chocolate chips in a small pan.  Once melted, add the melted chocolate to a mixing bowl, add in some cream and blend.  Once blended, add splash of liqueur.  Check consistency.  If you want it thicker, add more chocolate.  If you want it smoother, add more cream.

Cut up the Panettone in cubes.  Add cubes of bread to a parfait glass or desert glass, drizzle glaze, and layer bread and glaze until cup is full.  Add whip cream if you want with a a few chips on top.

Dig in and enjoy!


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