In the Bender Kitchen: The Traveling Epicurean Michel Vejar

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Michel started her website The Traveling Epicurean almost 4 years ago and  YouTube Cooking Channel 2 years ago, producing 89 cooking shows and counting.

Today Michel shares an easy family recipe called “Lazy Man’s Lasagna” which she has been making for 30 years.

Lazy-Man’s Lasagna

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb rigatoni pasta
  • 4-6 cups of tomato sauce (see my 20 minute “tomato-basil sauce” recipe on my website)
  • 2 lbs ground meat – (3 cups after browned) of:  ground beef, turkey, veal, pork, meatloaf mix, or sweet fennel sausage (Liuzzi makes my favorite sweet and spicy Italian fennel sausage)
  • 1 lb whole milk ricotta (see my “homemade Ricotta” on my website)
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella – 2 cups to mix into the lazy-man’s lasagna plus additional 1 cup to sprinkle on top if you are going to put the pasta into a baking dish to bake later
  • grated Parmesan
  • fresh basil

Directions:

  1. Brown the ground meat in a sauce pan on medium high heat until golden
  2. Drain the meat to remove excess oil
  3. Put the meat back into the pan on medium high heat add 1/3 cup of red wine to de-glaze the sauce pan scrapping up the little brown bits stuck the bottom of the pan
  4. Keep the browned meat on warm
  5. Heat tomato-basil sauce through
  6. Cook the rigatoni in salted water until al dente …(Having a pinch of firmness to it so it’s not overly cooked)
  7. Drain the pasta and put it back into the same pan
  8. Immediately add 2 cups of hot tomato-basil sauce, 1 lb. of ricotta, 2 cups of mozzarella, 3 cups of browned meat and begin to stir
  9. Add another 1-1 1/2 cups of tomato-basil sauce
  10. Mix ingredients until combined and pour out into a serving platter
  11. Sprinkle with Parmesan and chiffonade of fresh basil

For even more recipes visit http://thetravelingepicurean.com and www.youtube.com/thetravelingepicureanmichelvejar

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