Gene Hackman's Lasagne
For the sauce:
1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, pressed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 lbs. ground beef (chuck)
One 35-oz. can Italian plum tomatoes
One 6-oz. can tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2-3 basil leaves (or dried basil) to taste
2 cups liquid, if needed (water or beef broth)
Piece of pork (or lucanica or pork sausage), parboiled and sliced
Brown onion and garlic in olive oil. Lift out onion-garlic mixture. Brown beef in same pan (or stock pot) until it is lightly brown. Stir to keep meat loose-textured. Return onion-garlic mixture to same pot; add tomatoes, tomato paste, wine, salt, pepper, basil, and liquid. Cook very slowly about 4 hours, stirring occasionally. Skim off excess fat. Add liquid from time to time as needed. Add sausage during last hour. Correct seasonings by tasting. Sauce should be thick and viscous when ready to use.
For the lasagne:
4 quarts boiling water
2 tablespoons salt
10 ounces lasagne
3 cups creamed cottage cheese
Pepper to taste
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 packages (6 ozs. each) mozzarella cheese, sliced
Bring water to brisk boil, add 1 tablespoon salt. Gradually add lasagne so water continues to boil. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tender. Drain in colander. Mix together cottage cheese, eggs, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper and half the Parmesan cheese. Arrange half the lasagne in bottom of well-greased 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Spread with meat sauce; top with half the mozzarella and half the cottage cheese mixture. Repeat layers, sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake in preheated 375 degrees F. oven 35 minutes (or until cheese is browned). Cool a few minutes before serving. Serve with chilled rose wine, green salad, fruit and assorted cheeses for dessert. Serves 8-10.
Thoughts: Gene advises, "I prefer to use fresh plum tomatoes. Peel and put through blender, combine with sauce. If desired, sauce can be more highly seasoned with addition of oregano, parsley flakes, or additional garlic. If desired, wine may be left out. Substitute 1/2 cup red wine vinegar, 1/2 cup water and a dash of sugar."
Gene Hackman's Shrimp Tempura
1 cup dashi sauce (or bottled clam juice)
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup sherry (or sake)
Pinch of sugar
1 tablespoon grated fresh white horseradish
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger root
Mix together all the ingredients, except horseradish and ginger; divide evenly among 4 bowls. Put grated horseradish and ginger into 2 separate bowls. Each guest helps himself to as much horseradish and ginger as pleases the palate. Use as dunking sauce for tempura.
For the tempura:
1 1/2 lbs. raw jumbo shrimp (about 24)
Raw vegetables: green beans (whole), carrots (cut in thin rounds), water chestnuts (sliced), green pepper or eggplant, cut in julienne strips
1 cup water
1 cup flour
Dash of salt
Shell shrimp, leaving tail fins attached to flesh, devein. Slit undersection of shrimp to prevent curling. Wash shrimp; prepare vegetables. Beat egg and water together, gradually stir in flour with chopsticks. Do not overmix. Batter should be lumpy in appearance. Fill deep saucepan (or deep fat fryer) 3/4 full with vegetable oil. Heat until it registers 370 degrees F. on cooking thermometer. Dip each shrimp in batter; hold against edge of bowl, allowing excess batter to run off. Lower into hot oil, cook 2-3 minutes (or until golden brown). Repeat, using remaining shrimp and vegetables. Drain well on absorbent paper. Serve at once with dunking sauces. Serves 4.
Thoughts: Dashi is available in Oriental food shops or gourmet sections of many supermarkets. Gene's Japanese specialty is not unlike the Italian deep-fried vegetables (fritto misto).