Mr. and Ms. S&C hosted their seventh annual Super Bowl party over the weekend. I realize the Super Bowl has been covered ad nauseam, so there’s no need for a recap of the game, the commercials, or the Boss here. I will say Jennifer Hudson looked fabulous and I would kill for her outfit. Loved the jacket, the shoes and the jewelry.
Even Top Chef jumped on board for the media overload, so I may pass on the Top Chef recap/drink pairing from last week’s episode. Except to say, it was pretty cool that the Quickfire Challenge involved squares. I love playing football squares.
There were two items from our party I feel bound to share — bloody mary’s and the world’s best lasagna.
As of late, I’ve heard many cocktail enthusiasts who have been advocating a return to the original Bloody Mary. The original recipe, thought to have been created by either a bartender at the St. Regis Hotel in New York City or one in Paris, started with equal parts tomato juice and vodka. Some mixologists highly recommend this simplified version, with maybe a dash or two of Worcestershire, lemon juice and salt and pepper.
Ms. S&C personally loves the bold spiciness that can come with a Bloody Mary. Lots of horseradish, Tabasco, old bay, celery seed, citrus — you could call it “the works.” And, I love to experiment with garnishes — maybe a fresh jalapeno and a shrimp, maybe bacon? Celery is an old favorite, but cucumber is now my go-to garnish of choice.
Bloody mary bar at the Super Bowl party. Cool football shaped glasses
were a gift from an aunt.
Our Super Bowl parties have usually featured traditional fare such as chili and sandwiches and the like. This year, we served lasagna. And, I have to say, it was pretty incredible. So good, that I’m going off-topic. The first time I made this lasagna, it was right after our trip to the city of brotherly love when I used a lot of fresh ingredients from the Italian market. I recommend you splurge on some premium canned tomato products because the sauce is the best part.
World’s Best Lasagna
(adapted from the recipe on all recipes.com)
1 pound ground Italian sausage
¾ pound lean ground beef
1 cup minced onion
4 cloves minced garlic
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
2 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
½ cup dry red wine
3 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
8 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Lasagna noodles (it is okay to use the no-boil noodles)
16 oz ricotta cheese
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¾ pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
In a Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and red wine. Season with basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and 4 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally. (Note: the sauce can be made a day in advance.)
In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon cinnamon.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
To assemble, spread 1 ½ cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Cover with noodles. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture and ¼ cup parmesan cheese. Top with sauce. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella 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. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.
posted by Ms. S&C