Tuesday, March 23, 2010



The "Last Meal" Lasagna

So many people have asked me for the recipe for my lasagna, (which isn’t mine at all) that I knew I had to publish it. Wayne St. Clair, the real creator of this recipe, gave me permission to feature it on my blog. This dish is so good, one person said after partaking of a huge helping, “If I had to choose one dish as my last meal, this would be it!”

About the same time that I decided to post this recipe, a representative of CSN Stores offered to sponsor a giveaway through my blog. CSN offers products ranging from exercise equipment and pet supplies to furniture, housewares and kids bedding. They let me pick the item to be given away. As befits a blog post about making lasagna, I decided on – a pasta maker! There’s no pasta tastier than fresh, homemade pasta.

Cucina Pro Pasta Fresh Machine

All you have to do to have a chance of winning this handy appliance is make a comment at the end of this post. If you have a blog or a page on Facebook, Myspace, Flickr, or Twitter, it would be nice if you’d create a link to this post, http://healingwoman.blogspot.com/2010/03/chef-waynes-last-meal-lasagna.html , as well. And if you’re the lucky winner, you can use your new pasta maker for this recipe (although this last step is optional). You will have until March 31st (1 week) to make a comment on this post. I will announce the winner on Thursday, April 1st. The selection will be made with a random number generator.

I don’t want to scare you away from trying this delicious dish, but you may find it to be a test of your kitchen stamina. You must make some of the recipe’s components several days in advance, so it requires a bit more planning than many of the recipes I’ve posted before. Believe me, it is worth all the effort!!!

PS: Wayne never writes his recipes down. We are really lucky to get this one!

Here goes. Good luck!

Lasagna with Spinach Noodles and Homemade Ricotta Cheese

5 pounds tomatos, Heirlooms like Cherokee Purple are perfect
9 cloves garlic, minced
1 large sweet red pepper, roasted and peeled
1 large onion, diced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
water , as needed
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 whole bay leaves
1 pound hot Italian sausage, bulk not links
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, bulk not links
1 gallon whole milk
1 quart heavy cream
4 whole lemons, juice and zest
12 whole basil leaves, sliced thin
½ teaspoon kosher salt
12 oz. frozen spinach, squeezed dry and chopped fine
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 large eggs
3 ½ cups flour, or more as needed
1 pound shredded mozzarella cheese

"This is a very complex lasagna with a lot of steps but the results are worth it. One comment I got after serving it was that you tasted something different with each bite. Even cold the next day it is lighter than the standard lasagna. After reviewing though I can honestly say the only step that you can leave out if you must is making the noodles. Standard store bought noodles will work but the results won't be as light...a word you rarely associate with lasagna. But if you have a pasta machine I would recommend making the spinach noodles...but by no means substitute store bought pasta sauce or ricotta cheese...making your own makes all the difference in the world.

"Its funny. I did not realize just how many steps are required to make this dish until I wrote out this recipe for Cheryl...its a lot of work but the work can (and should) be stretched out for several days and the results are definitely worth it."


I highly recommend making this sauce from heirloom tomatoes like Cherokee purple or Brandywine or even a good hybrid like Carolina Golds...which would make a very pretty orange sauce.

(1) Core the tomato stems out with a melon baller and score the bottoms with an X.

(2) Bring 1 1/2 gallons of water to a boil and drop the tomatoes in a few at a time and blanch for about a minute then remove and drop into cold water. Repeat until all of the tomatoes are done.

(3) Peel the tomatoes and quarter to remove as many seeds as possible then dice and place in a bowl and sprinkle with the salt.

Cherokee tomatoes

Par-boil tomatoes

(4) Roast the sweet red pepper either on a gas burner or under the broiler until well charred on all sides...place in a bag or covered container and allow to steam for about 15 minutes then rinse off the char and dice.

(5) Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large sauce pan or dutch oven. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and allow to cook in the oil briefly...for no more than a minute stirring frequently then add the onions and pepper and saute until the onions wilt. then add the tomatoes.

(6) Simmer the tomatoes stirring frequently until they release their moisture...add the pepper, the bay leaves and the oregano and any water...1/2 cup a a time as needed. Transfer to a slow cooker and add the red wine vinegar and bring to a simmer and cook for 4 or 5 hours until the sauce thickens...cover and refrigerate.

Roast Red Bell Pepper

Steam Red pepper

Saute Onions and garlic

Add tomatoes


Allow the sauce to sit in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 days to allow the flavors to marry.

(7) Take 3/4 of the sauce out and puree then fold back into the remaining sauce.

(8) Crumble the hot Italian sausage and brown until done then drain off the grease and fold into the sauce.

(9) Repeat with the sweet Italian sausage and refrigerate.

Saute both sausages together

Add sausage to the sauce


"As far as I am concerned this is the most important ingredient and not one to be replaced with an inferior store bought cheese. Don't be daunted...this cheese is really simple. Having a quick read thermometer is essential though. This cheese is not technically Ricotta since Ricotta is made from the whey left over from the making of Parmesan cheese...hence its Italian name...re boiled. This cheese is actually a white or bag cheese. It does not melt and if more liquid is pressed out of it, it becomes Paniar and can be used in Indian cooking."

(10) Combine the milk, the cream, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the lemon juice and zest in a stainless steel, enamel or glass pot and place on the stove on low heat...If you are afraid of scorching the milk set the pot in a larger pot and add water to make a large double boiler arrangement.

(11) Slowly heat the milk to 180 degrees stirring rarely. it should be stirred with a wooden spoon no more than than 4 times and then when stirred it should be done slowly and gently so not to break up the curds.

(12) When the milk reaches 180 increase the heat to high and raise the temperature (you can remove the pot with the milk from the double boiler for this) to 208. Remove from the heat and allow it to sit for 10 minutes.

(13) Slowly pour the hot curds and whey into a very fine mesh screen strainer or a double layer cheese cloth and allow it to drain for 15 minutes.

(14) Place the cheese in a container and refrigerate. It will keep for 4 to 5 days.

Lemons and zester

Simmer milk, cream and lemon

Strained ricotta mixed with basil


"Right out...if you do not have a pasta machine use either store bought lasagna noodles or if you can find them commercially made spinach lasagna noodles. These noodles are delicate and rolling them by hand would be too difficult if you've never made noodles that way before."

(15) Thaw out the spinach and squeeze out as much water as possible then chop as fine as possible or place it in a food processor and process until fine...but do not puree.

(16) In a large bowl or a Kitchen Aide bowl place 2 cups of flour and the salt. Mix thoroughly and create a well in the middle of the flour. Add the eggs...2 tablespoons of olive oils and the spinach.

(17) If you have a Kitchen Aide using the dough hook and start on low mix the ingredients together until the dough forms. If making by hand begin with a fork and blend together then when the dough is thick enough begin kneading by hand adding flour as needed. Conversely you can also make this in a food processor and process until it is too dense to continue then pour onto a floured surface and finish by hand.

However you make it the final product should be a soft slightly tacky dough. Wrap in plastic film wrap and allow to rest for about an hour.

(18) Bring 1 1/2 gallons of salted water to a boil.

(19) Cut the dough into 5 or 6 portions. and dredge in flour.

(20) Using your pasta machine start on the lowest setting...0 or 1 depending on the machine...roll the dough through it then fold and repeat then fold and repeat until you achieve a rough rectangle. Dredge in flour and set aside. Repeat for each portion. Then turn the dial the next notch up and roll the sheets through once. Then turn the dial up again and repeat.

All told the dough should be run through the machine 3 or 4 times up from 0. if you stop at 3 the noodles will be thicker and more robust...if you go up to 4 the noodles will be thinner and more delicate. Either way you will end up with sheets 3 to 4 feet long.

(21) Cut the noodles into into 13 or 14 inch portions and drop one or two at a time in the boiling water and cook for no more than 2 minutes stirring gently with a wooden spoon.

(22) Pour into a strainer and drop into cold water to stop cooking and drain. Expect to lose several pieces because the noodles are delicate.

Large bowl, flour and eggs

Spinach mixed into pasta dough

Pasta machine with spinach pasta

Cut Lasagna noodles

Pasta being cooked

Pasta draining


(23) Preheat the oven to 375.

(24) Thinly slice the basil leaves crosswise into a fine chiffonade and stir into the Ricotta.

(25) Grease a 14 by 8.5 casserole dish and spoon a few ladles of the sauce on the bottom. Then lay 3 or 4 lasagna noodles on top of the sauce...and spoon some more sauce on top of that.

(26) Spoon some of the Ricotta on top of the sauce and noodles...It will have to be plopped on in spots per se since it is too thick to spread and since it doesn't melt it doesn't need egg to hold it together. Then Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese on top of that then layer the noodles on and repeat...all told you should have three layers of noodles, sauce and cheeses.

(27) After you add the last of the cheese on top sprinkle with dried oregano and place in oven and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from oven and allow to rest for about an hour before cutting.


Ricotta waiting to be layered

Lasagna is ready for the oven

Close-up of lasagna

Fresh out of the oven

Stumble Upon Toolbar


  1. Oh my gosh, this looks so yummy!!! Sure is a lot of work to get to the yummy part...

  2. I have always thought of myself as a reasonably competent cook, but this one would surely put me on my mettle! Makes me with is were September and my tomatoes were in season... I will surely try making the ricotta at least. Thanks!

  3. YUM, now I REALLY can't wait for tomato season! You actually just made my stomach growl......;)

  4. Well ... I see my pasta machine coming out ... soon! :)

  5. The photos of the finished product actually made my mouth water - at 7 AM! JudiA alerted me to this recipe and it looks fabulous. We're a small household - how does this freeze?

  6. One of my favorite dishes to eat and least favorite dishes to make is lasagna. This recipe sounds wonderful but too much for me to make. I'd love to try it someday.

  7. Oh wow, looks and sounds amazing. I'm an adventurous cook but never made my own pasta. Must try it one day real soon. My son loves Lasagne (especially my version!).

  8. Wow, what an ordeal! I'd rather come to your house to eat! Love the pasta machine!

  9. I am on my way to your house for dinner!!! I dislike cooking and this seems like a lot of work. Hmmmm I guess I dislike cooking because I have no time and no one to really cook for. Ready for this.... I WAS a cook and recipe recipe designer in my early days. LOL

  10. I am on the second day of a fast. This lasagna looks like it has come straight from heaven, I can almost smell it. I can hardly wait to try this. looks scruptious!!!

  11. OMG...that lasagna looks (and sounds) truly out of this world! Thank you so much for taking the time to share the recipe with us.

    I have two pasta makers - one I use for my clay
    (guess which one gets the most use LOL)



  12. WOW! What a fantastic recipe and post. For some reason I thought I was following you already and when to search for you on my dash I realized I wasn't! :( Anyhow I think I've got it now. :) I just wantented to thank you for the beautiful, beautiful dreamcatcher and note for the Wishing tree. It's so perfect out there. I wrote a little post if you'd like to check it out. Have a wonderful day, love Bridgette

  13. Holly cow I just ate and now I am so hungry for this, I LOVE LASAGNA!

  14. Wow! This lasagna is the stuff dreams are made of!!! So little time! I'll have to live vicariously!!! Awesome post! Hugs, Terri xoxo

  15. Cheryl.....between you and Stratton, I am not sure that either of you ever cook anything other than the creme de la creme of recipes. This one sounds like it could easily be someone's first meal....... in heaven!

    Love and Lasagna, Dian Tapscott

  16. OK, all I can say is wow. I am not sure if I would attempt this but maybe for like Easter! Oh yea...it would be worth making this for a big family dinner. Hmmmm Thank you for sharing Cheryl!

  17. OMG what a fabulous recipe. I love lasagna and this recipe is now on my to do list! The giveaway is great but the recipe is awesome! New follower, I'll be back!

  18. This is the type of recipe that we need to get back to more often. It forces us to slow down and savor the day. Healthier, better tasting, good all the way around. I will be trying it soon. I love lasagna and I'm sure this will be my new favorite recipe.

  19. I am glad I came back to check , I posted a comment to you yesterday and bugger-blogger was acting up on my end.. What I wanted to say was..

    This looks INCREDIBLE! When's dinner again?? (LOL)

    I have got to try your pasta and ricotta recipes! They look scrumptious! Oh and not to forget you entire lasagna dish, which looks Amazing!!

    I currently hand roll my pastas 'cause I don't have a machine (...yet...fingers crossed here..LOL) but it's on my wish list.

    Brightest of Spring Blessings to You and Yours!
    Ma Fey

  20. Oh my gosh Cheryl, I have never been dazzled some much visiting a blog. This is just above and beyond a fabulous posting !!!!!!
    The recipe, the picture and how you explain everything in complete detail. You took my breathe away. The recipe is just super and please count me in your giveaway.
    I will enjoy this recipe and have to go back to enjoy all the step by step instruction.
    All I can say is Wowsa !!
    I loved visiting your blog, your such a sweetheart to share with us.
    Big thank you and Hugs, Laura. xoxx
    So glad we are friends.

  21. I am so hungry now! I'm never going to lose weight - this looks amazing!

  22. woooow! this is the most involved lasagna recipe ever! i bet it's super delicious, though. anything that requires this much effort has got to be to die for!

  23. I wish I'd known about this sooner. I've simply been off the computer more than on this week. Glad I could finally do something for this giveaway.

  24. Wow that lasagna looks amazing! I bet it tastes amazing as well! I'd love a chance at a pasta maker...

  25. Yum...Yum! I want some lasagna now!
    Looks Great!
    Blessings and love,

  26. mmmm...nothing better than homemade lasagne...i can almost smell it from here! there is a lot of steps to this one, but from the looks of the picture, it would be WELL worth the effort! just found your blog from a posting on elizabeth and bluebeard...definitely adding you to my "follow" group!

  27. OH,MY! such work that goes into this most heavenly lasagna. Nothing better than Cheryl's homemade lasagna. Just the homemade noodles with garlic butter drizzled on them are devine! Oh, to have a pasta maker to make my own. But how could mine ever compare??

  28. excuse me, that 9:30am comment above was from Trish. forgot to sign it, silly me.

  29. That looks marvelous! I sat here eating a bowl of corn flakes as I read this..... the corn flakes kept getting less and less tasty!

    I definitely plan to try this as soon as possible.

  30. Oh my! You make those fabulous necklaces and marathon cook too! If i win this thing, I would take it as a sign from God He wanted me to start cooking!

  31. Oh how I love pasta... And lasagna... Yum! I'm not going to lie though, this recipe scares me a little. And that is the very (ok one) reason I will try it!!

  32. I just wanted to let you know that i posted about this wonderful recipe and your giveaway on my blog here...

  33. That looks SO absolutely incredible. My hips grew an inch wider just READING about it!

  34. Hi...this is Wayne. I am glad everyone is interested in this recipe. It is my take on the classic Italian Lasagne Verdi al Forno. What I did was replace the bechamel with the ricotta and worked out a from scratch sauce of my own liking...the spinach noodles are part of the original recipe.

    In all reality the dish is not all that hard. Both the cheese and sauce should be made ahead of time and the sausages cooked separately and added after the sauce has aged some. All these steps build the flavor...and can be stretched out over 3 or 4 days. The biggie is making the noodles and assembling the lasagna.

    I do recommend trying this dish. The results are surprisingly light...even cold.

    If you want to read the original recipe you can find one in Lynn Rossetto Kasper's magnificent cook book "The Splendid Table".

  35. Thanks so much to everyone who has made comments I really appreciate hearing from all of you. Also, thanks again to you Wayne, for giving us all this most amazing recipe. I wish I had a pasta machine to send to each and every one of you! Contest ends tomorrow night, the 31st. I will post the winner on April Fool's Day...

  36. Oh my goodness. I was looking for the perfect make ahead dish for some out of town company we expect one day next month.

    If I won the pasta machine I'd have everything I need.


  37. Yum, this looks so good!
    I would love to be entered in the drawing!
    Thank you.


If convenient, please leave a comment. I read every one and thoroughly enjoy hearing your thoughts.