When I was younger, and we would drive by peoples houses at night, I used to have this fascination with imagining the families that lived in there. The glow of the light from inside sharing a small glimpse into the space in which they lived. Were they happy inside those walls? Were their parents together? How many siblings did they have. Sisters. brothers.. a family dog, an old cat no one even noticed anymore.
I wouldn’t say my childhood growing up was #goals- – but I learned early on, that it was me that was in control of my own life. I held the key, I unlocked the door.
In fact, that was the visual I always held on to; this door I unlocked and the life and light I decided to step into.
I know we cannot control all the things that happen to us.
But over the years, I’ve clung onto things that inspire me; the things I want to do and have in my own family. That’s the great thing about growing up. You get a do-over.
I’ve always loved finding inspirations, little things that stick. Creatively or in life. Over the years I’ve pulled things in and written them into the pages of my life’s book. I’ve pulled things from as far back as I can remember and as close to last week- using them to infuse and inspire. Traditions, values.. a certain kind of energy.
I think at the core of what I want is a deeply connected, family orientated kind of love. A house the kids always seem to want to find their way back to.
A few years ago, one of my close girlfriends started inviting us over for “spaghetti nights”
She came from a close-knit Italian family and I just loved how her home-cooked meals became the heart of it all.
That’s how the “Philly Family Lasagna” eventually came about.
An intentional time to gather, stay home and look forward to. It doesn’t happen every Sunday- because goodness knows we aren’t Type -A like that, and a lot of the time (Ok most of the time) we’re kinda all over the place. Plus the kids usually have activities so I guess that’s the biggest crank in the gear these days. But when the stars align and the kids wake-up and realize we don’t have any grand plans that day they’ll request our special spaghetti or lasagna night.
I’ve fine-tuned this recipe over the last few years, it really is so so good. Perfect for Sunday’s after church, cozy dinners at home or easily doubled to accommodate lots of guests. These special family recipes always seem a little hard to put out there- – but I’m happy to share the love. The thought of some of you gathering around the table with your families eating this- gah. Worth it
Philly Family Lasagna:
1 pound Italian sausage (or 4 regular italian sausage links and 2 spicy italian links)
1 pound lean ground beef
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 jar/ can of strained tomatoes
*If I have it, I use chop fresh Roma tomatoes into it as well, but it is not necessary)*
1/2 cup water (I just rinse out the tomato cans and use that water) 2 TBSP maple syrup
large handful of FRESH basil leaves
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2-3 bullion cubes
ground black pepper to taste
chopped fresh parsley
*If I have time, I make them myself, and it is so much better. – But let’s face it, I barely have this kind of time 😉
Saputo Ricotta Di Campagna cheese (there is no right amount here, I prefer a thick layer, but again, it is all preference)
2- 3 cups Saputo Mozzarellissima cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Fry sausage, ground beef, onion
, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, strained tomatoes and Fresh tomatoes if using then the water.
Once it’s almost cooked, add Maple syrup, fresh basil, Italian seasoning, bullion cubes, pepper and parsley.
Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring and seasoning if necessary.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles and rinse with cold water. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg,
To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the Saputo Ricotta Di Campagna cheese mixture. Top with a third of Saputo Mozzarellissima cheese. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over Saputo Mozzarellissima, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining Saputo Mozzarellissima and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.
Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes.
Gather those you love around the table and enjoy!
Xo, The Philly Family
This post is sponsored by Saputo but the thoughts and words are all mine. Thank you so so much for supporting me so this blog can be possible Xo, Michele