Cudighi Lasagna

September 24, 2013 Corresponding RecipesMake Ahead MadnessShopping Lists and Home Page Posts  No comments

Where I come from there is a specialty sausage sold called “cudighi”. It resembles some spicy Italian sausages, but really, the flavor stands on it’s own. I’m choosing to describe it here as peppery (as in black pepper) and sweeter, due to possibly an increased amount of fennel. Anyway, it’s fantastic and you have to try it for yourself.

Recently, I made Cudighi Lasagna for my dad. I will definitely be making it again. Please see the included recipe. WARNING: This recipe will take you the better part of an afternoon to make – totally worth it! BONUS: The included recipe makes more sauce than you need to prepare the lasagna. Freeze the extra sauce and serve it over pasta at a later date. Yum!

If you’d like to try cudighi for yourself, I recommend calling Mama Russo’s at 906-485-5250. I’m including the link to their website as well, but at the time of writing this post, it’s under construction: http://www.mamarusso.com/ 

Mama Russo’s does ship their cudighi.

Cudighi Lasagna
Possibly the World's Best Cudighi Lasagna
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Ingredients
  1. Olive Oil
  2. 1 lb. Cudighi, Removed from it's casing.
  3. 1 lb. Lean Ground Beef
  4. 1/2 Medium Sweet Onion, Minced
  5. 3-4 Large Garlic Cloves, Minced
  6. 1 (28 oz.) Can Crushed Tomatoes
  7. 2 (6 oz.) Cans Tomato Paste
  8. 1 (14.5 oz.) Can Tomato Sauce
  9. 2 TBSP White Sugar
  10. 1 1/2 tsp. Dried Basil Leaves
  11. 3/4 tsp. Fennel Seeds
  12. 1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
  13. 1 TBSP Salt
  14. 1/4 tsp. Ground Black Pepper
  15. 4 TBSP Fresh Parsley, Chopped -OR- Half as Much Dried
  16. 12 Lasagna Noodles, COOKED
  17. 16 oz. Cottage Cheese (Recommended 2%)
  18. 1 Egg
  19. 1/2 tsp. Salt (Yes, salt again.)
  20. 3/4 lb. Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded
  21. 3/4 lb. Parmesan Cheese, Shredded
Instructions
  1. If you have not already, bring a large pot of salted (1 TBSP.) water to a boil and cook the lasagna noodles until they are tender, but still have a slight bite to them (al dente); this will take approximately 7 minutes. Drain the water from the noodles and pour a little olive oil (1 TBSP) on them to keep them from sticking to one another.
  2. While the noodles are cooking, pour about 1 TBSP olive oil into a very large saute pan or dutch oven. Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, cudighi, and ground beef to the olive oil and cook, stirring and breaking apart the meat with the side of a spoon or spatula, until the meat is browned.
  3. Once the meat is browned, stir the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste into the meat mixture. Season the meat sauce with the basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 TBSP of salt, pepper, and half of the parsley (regardless of whether you're using fresh or dried). Simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally, for a minimum of 30 mins. I did not cover the pot while the sauce simmered; I like the flavors of tomato based sauces to be concentrated in general - not diluted by condensation or added water (unless I'm making soup).
  4. In a mixing bowl, combine the cottage cheese with the egg, remaining parsley, and the additional 1/2 tsp. of salt.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Retrieve a 9x13 inch baking pan. Spread 1 1/2 cups meat sauce around the bottom of the pan. Arrange 6 noodles over the meat sauce; it's okay if they overlap a little. You may need to "tear" and arrange one of the noodles width-wise across the pan. Spread 1/2 the cottage cheese mixture over the noodles. Top the cottage cheese layer with 1/3 of the shredded mozzarella cheese. Spoon 1 1/2 cups of the meat sauce over the mozzarella cheese and then sprinkle about 1/3 of the Parmesan cheese over the meat sauce. Repeat the layers and end with sprinkling the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese on the top of the lasagna.
  7. Spray a large piece of foil (large enough to cover the 9x13 inch pan) with cooking spray. (Alternatively, you can smear a little olive oil across the foil.) Cover the lasagna with the foil, oil side down. This will prevent the cheese from sticking to the foil.
  8. Bake the covered lasagna in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Then, remove the foil and bake for an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.
Notes
  1. Bonus: This recipe makes more sauce than you need for the lasagna. You can freeze the sauce and serve it over pasta at a later date.
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