Home Cooking


"Mama Leones" original Lasagna Recipe's., sorry so long.


Home Cooking Lasagna

"Mama Leones" original Lasagna Recipe's., sorry so long.

Irwin Koval | | Aug 31, 2003 05:36 AM

When I worked at "Mama Leone's" Restaurant in NYC we used to prepare 50 Pans of Lasagna every day. We'd prepare mostly "Meat Lasgna",in those days we prepared "Vegetable Lasagna", as well,but Vegetarians were few and far between. We used to make only about 20 Pans a week. But for meatless Friday's we'd prepare as many as 60/70 Pans of "Seafood/Shellfish Lasagna" always a big seller. I'm not aware of any.other restaurant's in New York that made this dish. Many items used may be interchanged for your personal taste. I'll begin with the "Meat Lasgna". I'm sorry that I'm not Computer Competent enough to do recipes in a easier to follow format. If anyone has problems following my attempt, please email me and i'll do my best to assist any Chowhounds.: "MEAT LASAGNA": Starts with Red Sauce: We prepared a basic MARINARA SAUCE as follows: two size 2 1/2 Tin "Chopped Tomatos in Puree". one size 2 1/2 Tin Diced or Chopped Tomatos in Puree. one size 2 1/2 can Tomato Puree. one 12 oz tin Tomato Paste. Combine all Cans together in large Pot or Bowl and stir until mixed. Spices for Marinara: 1/4 cup dried chopped oregano, 1/4 cup dried Thyme, 1/2 cup dried chopped basil. one cup olive oil, one tablespoon white ground pepper, one teaspoon red chili flakes. 1/8 cup granulated sugar. Stir all seasonings into tomato mixture. Vegetables, prepared as follows: 2 cups shredded carrots. 2 cups small diced celery, 2 cups small diced sweet pepper, red, green or whatever. 3 cups small diced onions. 3/4 cup fine diced/chopped garlic. 2 bunches ciliantro or italian parsley, fine diced or chopped, stems included. Heat up Large Saute Pan, with Lid. When Hot add 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil. When oil is hot, add garlic, stirring until it starts to sweat and begins cooking. Try not to let garlic burn. Then place onions into pan, stirring until they are coated with oil. After onions are coated, add remainder of vegtables, stirring until they are cooked and tender with lid on pan. During cooking when they start to brown add one cup white wine. By the time wine is reduced and alcohol boils out your veggies should be ready. Place aside and allow to cool to room temperature. After veggies are cooled, mix throughly with seasoned tomato mixture. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly as often spices may have been stored to long, with flavor diminished. Your Marinara sauce is ready to be used for Lasgna. No additional cooking is required, as sauce will be cooked together with the Lasagna. Next we set up "PLAIN TOMATO SAUCE", open a 2 1/2 can of regular tomato sauce, hunt's. del-monte, any brand. pour into suitable container. Add one teaspoon sugar, plus 1/8 cup olive oil into tomato sauce, stiring until blended. Next we prepare our "MEAT SAUCE BASE: Meat: 3 pounds Ground Beef, not more the 20% Fat. Veggies: Same amount that we used for the Marinara Sauce. Seasonings: Same as for Marinara Sauce, with 1/3 cup fennel seeds added. Reduced reserved liquid from "Sweet Italian Sausages" preperation method will follow, after meat sauce is prepared. Using large saute pan, with lid, Saute the veggies, as done for marinara sauce, including adding wine. When cooked remove from saute pan into suitable container. In same saute pan, after veggies removed coat bottom of pan with vegetable oil, when hot put the Ground beef into pan stirring and breaking up meat as it cooks, when meat loses it's natural red color and seems to be cooking, try not to let brown. At that point stir in all your vegetable mixture. When the combined mixture starts to heat thru , pour in the reserved reduced broth from the sausage. after this starts to heat thru add one pound of bread crumbs and one full cup of grated parmasan cheese. Mix throughly and allow to cool to room temperature. SAUSAGE PREPERATION: 2 1/2 pounds of fresh "SWEET ITALIAN SAUSAGE": seperate links, by cutting apart. Place links into Pot, after poking them thru casing on both sides 3/4 places with a fork. Cover Sausages with Cold water, or if available chicken or beef stock just to leval of top of sausage. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer about 20 minutes. Remove Sausages from Pot, after they cool place into covered container, then refrigerate. Reduce the remaing sausage flavored liquid, reserve to add into the Meat Sauce as previously mentioned. When Sausages are Cold , remove from Refrigerator, and prepare a sharp knife and cutting board. Slice Sausages, thin, diagonally. As they are cold they will be easy to slice, without falling apart. [that only happens when Sausages are warm, or if your knife is dull. Our next step is preparing our "WHITE SAUCE" for Lasagna. Before we list our ingredients we must prepare our "Roux": 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour. 1 1/2 cups melted whole butter. [not clearified]. Heat the butter in a pan, as butter warms slowly add the flour, stirring constantly. As flour is absorbed into the mixture keep stirring, after lowering heat, until mixture begins to smooth out, becoming a light beige or ivory color. At this point we start to stir in white wine, permitting the wine to keep mixture cooking but slowing down the heat so it doesn't begin to brown or burn. Continue adding wine until everything becomes very smooth, and thins down slightly. At that point remove from heat and scrape finished Roux into seperate container, as if it remains in pot may start to brown. Prepare 1 cup grated "Kassari Cheese", 1 1/2 cup grated parmasan cheese, 1 cup grated Mozzeralla cheese. Reserve all Cheeses. Have opened bottle of "White Wine". 1/2 Gallon of "Whole Milk". Place milk into large pot, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. As soon as milk boils, remove from heat, addind a spash of wine to stop boil. Take your "Roux" mixture and begin stirring, adding some wine until it's easy to stir. Place milk back on heat, as it begins to bubble, but before returning to a boil begin adding the Roux slowly, while being sure to continue stirring the milk. As Roux and Milk become blened it will begin to thicken, as it become thicker and ricer put all the cheese into the pot , keep stirring, as cheese melts, and mixture thickens, add wine to lower temperature and prevent burning. When mixture of cheese , wine, and milk, thins down into a smooth sauce texture , remove from heat and pour into container to cool. cover container with plastic wrap, then foil to prevent crusting of your WHITE CHEESE WINE SAUCE. Next Step we prepare our; "CHEESE, EGG, WHITE WINE CHEESE SAUCE and SPINICH MIXTURE". Ingredients: one dozen large eggs, broken and stirred with whip, placed into container. 2 pounds frozen chopped spinich, allowed to thaw. Drain liquid from spinich. After draining place spinich into clean towel, or cheese cloth. and twist as tightly as possable until all fluid in spinich is sqeezed out. place Spinich into bowl. Chop fine one bunch "Curly Parsley" and one bunch "Italian Parsley". After Chopping Parsleys mix together with Spinich. Add on Teaspoon of Grated Nutmeg to greens and mix throughly. Next item is 2 Quarts of Riccota Cheese, put into Bowl and Whip until semi-creamy. add egg mixture, spinich parsley mixture, and enough of your White Cream Sauce to makes a Spreadable thick textured mixture. Next step is Mix Marinara Sauce togther with Meat Sauce Base. Generally works right with 1/3 Meat Sauce Mixture, mixed with 2/3 Marinara Sauce Mixture. Amount of each should be adjusted to your personal taste as some like a richer meat flavor, while others may prefer more tomato taste. At Leones it was generally two parts tomato marinara to one part meat base. We used to Grated Parmasan Cheese into the meats sauce for texture and flavor. You may have noticed that we haven't used any salt. as the Parmasan Cheese is salty enough, those being served the Lasagna may add salt to taste. Next step is the Lasagna Sheets or Dried Pasta, whatever you prefer, we used Dry imported Pasta Sheets, similar to Barilla, that cooked a la dente, didn't stick, and were easy to layer and cover the pan, between fillings. The type we used were special ordered. sized for our Pans, larger then most retail pasta, but when we ran out we'd make due with any wide noodle, rippled or straight as long as it layered smoothly. Last step before Layering and filling the pans with the Lasagna, was to completely coat the insides, bottom, actually all surfaces that will contact the Lasagna with Cold Butter or Solid Fats, similar to Crisco with a thin coating. Finally we'll start assembling our Lasagna: PLace Pre-coated pan on flat surface. Coat Bottom of pan with your Tomato Sauce, olive oil and sugar mixture, moving around until whole bottom is nicely covered. Next start to cover bottom of pan with the Pasta. After pasta covers bottom, then cover with your Marinara/Meat sauce mixture, about 1/2 inch thick, Lay another level of Pasta to cover. Then add your Cheese, Egg, s pinich White Sauce Mixture about 1/2 inch thick. Next cover your Base mixture with a layer of the sliced Italian Sausages, after Sausages cover your Base, then Cover Sausage with your Marinara Sauce and cover with another layer of Pasta, Repeat with Meat Sauce Mixture. this level cover top of Meat Sauce with thin slices of Mozzarella Cheese. Cover again with Layer of Pasta, But place Thin Slices of Mozzarela Cheese on top of Marinara Sauce. Repeat again, without adding Mozzarella Cheese until Pan is Almost full to top, them we place final layer of pasta. cover with Mozzarella Slices, them put Marinara Sauce on top of Cheese. Then we put a thin coating of the Tomato Sauce and Sprikle Surface lightly with Grated Kassari Cheese and Bake in pre-warmed 375 Degree Oven until Top becomes slightly bubbley and Brown. Remove From Oven and allow to set for about 20/30 minutes, with knife or narrow thin spatula, cut into individual portions, serve immediately or place into cassaroles to heat in oven to order. This may be after cooling down covered in refrigerator, individually double wrapped in good quality plastic wrapped and frozed, thaw until just warm in microwave, then place in cassarole and finish in oven, my kids never bothered, just took out of plastic, covered up and zapped again and enjoyed. These basic ingredients are utilized with layered prepared veggies, such as eggplant, zuccinni, yellow squash, kale, spring onions, broccli rabe, cauliflower, mushroom slices and whatever, all pre-prepared a la dente. The seafood lasagna used firm white fish such as Mahi-Mahi, Orange Roughy, Seabass, Halibut [the best] or even Salmon, [We didn't use only because it's not italian?], Shrimps peeled, and Scallops. You may wish to add Clam Meat, Lobster or Squid, anything goes as long as you enjoy. Since this has taken so long, unless Chowhound approves I won't provide all the details for the variations, However if anyone emails me with what type of Lasagna they want to prepare i'll be happy to advise how to assemble the ingredients, as the basic's are all included with this recipe, the differences are due to customizing each Lasagna your way. Hope this does meets your satisfaction. Once you've put it all together it not that difficult, when you eat your results, I hope it was woth the wait and you all enjoy. Hope this wasn't Chowhounds longest posting.My one finger typing tool says it's my longest anything ever. Irwin [Sorry no Spell Checker or Carefull Editing}

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