While being enthralled by Season 2, I invite you to look back over the vicariously adulterous journey to the very first episode of Showtime’s TV series, The Affair. In an awkward family dinner scene at the home Cherry Lockhart, stuff was going on, people were pissed …lasagna was served! I don’t mean to mess with television magic, but I made the meal for that scene and went on to be Cherry’s ‘ghost chef’ for the rest of the season.
This was a real meal, a situation where the props actually get eaten. Sometimes nice, caring prop people decide to hire chefs to cook the food that the actors will partake in. Funny thing is, my go-to lasagna recipe, which I created for a couple of friends almost a decade ago, has the thematically appropriate title, Lasagna for Lovers.
For the show, I made some adjustments to provide separate vegetarian and meat-lover versions. Lasagna for Lovers is a delicious hybrid, for those who want it all.
Here is what we decided a family of horse ranchers would eat for an “Italian Dinner”, in Long Island, NY, late summer. Lasagna recipe follows:
Menu- “The Affair” Pilot Episode
provolone, sliced and cubed
pepperoni, sliced and whole
1 loaf sesame seed italian bread
roasted red peppers
4 bags mixed greens
red cabbage, shredded
dressing (oil, vinegar, Italian herbs)
1 full pan
1 tupperware, 1 foil pan (doubled)
1 container of tomato sauce
Marinated Three-Bean Salad
(green beans, red kidney beans, chickpeas)
1 bag toasted bread
1 container fresh tomato topping
2 Meat (sweet pork sausage, spicy pork sausage, ground beef) (fresh) — sliced
2 Veggie (roasted peppers, carrots, mushrooms, spinach)
extra parsley, parmesan and olive oil
Garlic Bread with Cheese
LASAGNA FOR LOVERS
6 hot or sweet Italian sausages, casing removed**
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cans crushed tomatoes, 28 ounces/each
3 sprigs thyme
4 carrots, sliced 1/4 inch thick on the bias
8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup olive oil, or more
for the filling:
2 pounds ricotta c
4 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup parmesan, grated
1 pound mozzarella, grated
1/2 pound provolone cheese, grated
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 box oven-ready lasagna noodles
Preheat oven to 400F.
In a medium saucepan, saute sausage meat until brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a plate covered with a paper towel to drain.
Discard all but 2 tablespoons of oil from the pan and add onion, crushed pepper, with a pinch of salt and pepper. (if sausage did not render enough fat, add cooking oil to equal 2 tablespoons)
In the warm oil, cook onions until soft, add garlic and cook 5 minutes more.
Add crushed tomato, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add sausage back into sauce with the thyme.
Reduce heat and let sauce simmer 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Toss sliced carrots with 2 tablespoons of oil, a pinch of salt and pepper.
Place on a baking sheet and roast in the oven 10-15 minutes until slightly caramelized.
Do the same with sliced mushroom. Toss with oil, salt and pepper, place on a baking sheet and roast until golden brown with crisp edges, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta, spinach, parmesan, 1 tablespoon of oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir until spinach is completely incorporated.
Combine grated mozzarella and provolone in another bowl.
On the bottom of a 9 x 12 baking pan, spread 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce.
Place (3) lasagne noodles or as many fit, break them if necessary in order to accommodate the size of the pan. Spread another 1/2 cup of sauce on top of noodles.
Spread some of ricotta mixture on top of sauce followed by 1/4 of the quantity of cheese.
Sprinkle 1/2 of the carrots with 1/2 of the basil over the cheese, add another layer of noodles, sauce, ricotta, mozzarella mix, mushrooms, fresh basil. Repeat two more times. On top of the last layer of noodles, put sauce, ricotta, and cover with grated cheeses, including parmesan.
Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake 15 minutes more.
*to uncase the sausages, make a slice in the outer skin with a small, sharp knife and release the interior ground meat into a bowl. Discard skin.
Layers, aerial view: