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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

An Italian Easter

Valpolicella "Ripasso"

Naturally, for my family's Easter celebration, I was put in charge of buying/bringing the wine. There are more red wine drinkers in my family than there are white (or sparkling) and I was trying to think of a red that would suit--both--a variety of foods and tastes. I thought a nice valpolicella would do.

Having just missed PJ Wine's open hours on Saturday (I attended an Easter Vigil mass, not realizing it would be three hours), I really had to scan the shelves at the corner liquor store for something decent. When I came across the above "ripasso" valpolicella, at $14.99, I thought it'd be a suitable pick. To round out my selection, I stopped at a second liquor store for a standard, but acceptable Chateau Ste. Michelle riesling and a bottle of extra dry Segura Viudas cava.

As usual, my family gathering consisted of a smorgasbord of foods and cuisines. Foremost, was my mother's homemade Vietnamese fried spring rolls (there's usually some kind of drama surrounding them--to this day, there are still seventy that somehow ended up "missing"), and Kim's beau, Chef Dejan made (mostly for Kim) goat cheese-stuffed dates wrapped in bacon. There was also a turkey, ham and the usual sides... but two days later, I'm still enjoying my sister, Ashley and her boyfriend, Will's homemade lasagna! (taking home leftovers is also a part of our family gatherings)

Ashley & Will's Lasagna  
1 ½ lbs ground beef
1 ½ sausage (we used hot, but whatever you prefer)
32 oz container ricotta
1 lb mozzarella cheese
1 jar tomato sauce
1 box lasagna noodles
2 eggs
Italian seasoning
Adobo and Sazón seasonings

  • Remove sausage from its casing.
  • Cook ground beef with Adobo and Sazón seasonings  (1 sm. package) until brown.
  • Cook sausage (separate from beef); drain oil and combine sausage and beef.
  • Add tomato sauce and let simmer for five minutes.
  • Cook lasagna noodles according to package instructions.
  • Mix ricotta, eggs and Italian seasoning in a bowl.
  • Grate cheese (if not already grated).
  • Lay a light coat of meat sauce in the bottom of a lasagna pan; add noodles, slightly overlapping; add a thin layer of the ricotta mix; add another layer of meat sauce; add mozzarella; repeat three times.
  • The final layer is only meat sauce and mozzarella. 
BAKE, covered, at 375° for twenty-five minutes, then uncovered for ten minutes until the mozzarella has melted.

The valpolicella was good (earthy on the nose and "rather dry" my sister, Teri, had said); it probably would have paired well with the lasagna, but I decided to imbibe the riesling since not many seemed to be touching it. (I actually had to go on a wine run to pick up more red and sparkling) I don't know if this valpolicella is one that's commonly available; but if you do see it, I do think it's worth picking up.
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