From "Minnie's Kitchen" by Minnie Giraldi
This rich casserole has the flavors of lasagna without the work. It's perfect for a Sunday dinner.
1. Heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan. Add the garlic and sauté over medium heat until golden, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, herbs, and salt and pepper to taste, and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Set the sauce aside.
2. Combine the ricotta, mozzarella, 1/2 cup Parmesan, parsley, salt, and eggs in a large bowl and set this mixture aside.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Add the salt to taste and the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Toss the pasta with a little sauce.
4. Place a layer of sauced pasta in a large casserole dish. Dot the pasta with small bits of the cheese mixture and then spoon some tomato sauce over the cheese. Repeat this process two more times to make 3 layers of pasta, cheese, and sauce. Sprinkle the top of the casserole with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
5. Bake until the top is lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Let the pasta casserole rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Minnie's Secret: If possible, use a thick homemade ricotta that you can buy at an Italian market. Supermarket ricotta is not nearly as creamy and tasty.
Andrea Reusing is the creator of the restaurant Lantern in Chapel Hill, N.C., and author of the book Cooking in the Moment: A Year of Seasonal Recipes. In this installment of The Key 3, she shares with Lynne Rossetto Kasper the techniques behind three of her favorite recipes: Turnip Soup, Overnight Braised Short Ribs and Tomato Salad.