|Franco Cupini back in the day!|
I was watching Diners, Drive-ins and Dives the other night and saw this little old man from Rome make a lasagna that I knew I had to make! I watched and re-watched the episode until I got it figured out as they don't really give it all away...
The restaurant is Cupini's from Kansas city, MS. To learn more about the man, Franco Cupini, and his family owned restaurant go to: www.cupinis.com
Knowing I would probably never get there, I had to try to make this lasagna.
It is NOT the sweet cheesy creamy type of lasagna that most people eat or make. This one is rustic and hearty, just the basics, NO ricotta, but it is soooooooo good!
We had an Italian restaurant we use to eat at in California, called Sal's. I don't think it exists any longer. Their lasagna was just like this recipe I am going to share, it was heaven in a dish!! I loved it but have never found another lasagna that has tasted that way since, and I have tried, believe me, 13 years of trying...all the ones I have found are the sweet cheesy too much ricotta, goopy, thick ones, they are good, but this is way better!
So here is my version of Cupini's "Old World" Lasagna: (I am calling it old world because the little old man that made it was from Rome)
OK here we go:
This makes a small dish 6x10, perfect size for me and hubby for dinner only, if you want a 9x13 dish please double this recipe! I will make a large dish from now on, we loved it! Hubby took the small bit of leftovers to work to have for lunch and I really want some for breakfast but it is all gone!!
1 pound ground sirloin
3/4 cup of shredded carrots chopped fine
1/2 small white onion chopped fine
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 stalks celery chopped in big pieces (they will be removed later)
5 bay leafs (they will be removed later)
5 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 jar of a good marinara sauce or homemade, I used Gina Rispoli, made with real Italian tomatoes!
1 1/2 cups béchamel sauce or cream, I did not feel like making béchamel so I used cream, worked great!
1 box flat lasagna noodles, you don't want big thick pasta for this, you want the thin sheets!
I would have made homemade but I do not have the 300.00 pasta attachment for my kitchen aide mixer yet, someday, someday...
I really need to win a big bingo jackpot as my "wish list" is getting long!
3 cups shredded mozzarella
1 cup grated Romano
Time to get cooking!
Put the olive oil in a large skillet or pot turn heat to medium, add celery, carrots, onion, bay leaves, garlic, sirloin and salt, stir and mix until meat is brown and crumbly, let simmer for about 20 minutes.
Remove the leaves and celery, the meat mix should be nice and crumbly and small.
Time to layer!
First put some sauce in the bottom of baking dish, remember if you are making a 9x13 dish you need to double the recipe!!
Next add one layer of pasta sheets, next is more sauce and cream and smear it around a bit to mix, add some meat, just sprinkle the meat around, then some Mozzarella, then some Romano, more pasta, sauces, meat, cheeses, keep going like this until you fill the dish, you want to end with sauces, meat, cheeses on top - not pasta!
Now cover with foil and bake at 375* for 30 minutes, remove the foil and put under broiler to get top bubbly and browned slightly! Just a few minutes!
And now you serve with some toasted Italian bread and butter!