I Had To Marry An Italian (Recipe)

Posted: October 5, 2011 at 1:06 pm

For the longest time I didn’t care too much for Italian food. My exposure to the dishes consisted mainly of plain ole spaghetti with jarred sauce (no offense, Mom) or heavy dishes from the likes of Olive Garden. I always felt either unsatisfied or sick after eating most Italian food. It never had that comforting feeling so many people equate with pasta or a hearty chicken parmesan.

I just had to marry an Italian.

I quickly learned the importance of good Italian food to Peter and his family. Christmas dinner? Forget the ham and casseroles – it’s all about the ravioli, meatballs, and cannoli. Birthday gatherings? There will be cake, but only after a nice serving of mom’s spinach alfredo.

Pasta night regularly became part of our rotation. I found that if the pasta included fresh veggies and perfectly cooked whole wheat noodles, I liked it a lot more. Still give me Mexican over Italian any day, but at least I gained a new appreciation and could accommodate my man’s taste.

When meal planning for last week I got struck with a sudden dose of inspiration. I wanted to make a homemade lasagna.


For some many of you that is probably not a big deal at all. For me, it meant giving Peter a little piece of his family tradition and one of his favorite meals…not from the freezer aisle and without making him do all the cooking.

It did take more effort in the kitchen than my normal cooking, but the effort melted into oblivion after my first bite. It almost makes me wonder if I should spend more time in the kitchen. But let’s not go too crazy now.


Slice. Serve. And feel like an official Italian. Well…minus the jarred sauce. I had to draw the line somewhere. Winking smile

  • What is a dish that intimidates you to make?
  • Do you have any strong cultural food ties in your family?


37 Comments to “I Had To Marry An Italian (Recipe)”
  1. YUMMY! Thanks for sharing the recipe 🙂

  2. Khushboo says:

    I had no idea Peter was Italian- cool! Can he speak the language?? Italian is without a doubt one of my top 3 cuisines (Japanese & Mexican being the other 2)! This recipe sounds yum, I always use cheddar in my lasagne but shall defo be trying mozzarella next time!

  3. I’ve never seen whole wheat lasagna noodles, but then again I haven’t looked in a while. The labor intensiveness is usually a put off. I’m going to try this one Sunday night soon though if I can get the noodles!

    My family is a mix of ethnicities (Irish, Italian, Puerto Rican and Hungarian) and mom didn’t cook very much growing up, but my family had a very strong tie to ice cream. We LOVE ice cream. If that’s not food, then I suppose we would go with chicken parm 🙂

    • Tina says:

      It took a good bit of time to make (compared to my normal 20-30 minute meals), but nothing was too difficult at least. And the whole wheat noodles I found were Kroger store brand. 🙂

  4. I love making lasagna, but man I have the hardest time making myself boil those noodles after discovering no boil noodles!
    I bet Peter was VERY happy with that meal, Tina!

  5. Holly says:

    Just so you guys know they make noodles that you don’t have to cook before putting the lasagna, and I have found that most noodles, even those that have not been labeled as being able to go straight into the oven will cook as the assembled lasagna bakes. It makes it much less time intensive!

  6. I looove lasagna. Last week I made one with tofu ricotta instead of regular ricotta, which probably sounds a little gross, but it was DELICIOUS.

  7. My husband is 2nd generation Slovene. I know, “that’s a nationality?” Eastern European. I’m still improving on what I cook, and getting used to others. I think I beat my mother-in-law when it comes to stuffed cabbage or stuffed peppers, she can have the kielbasa with peppers and onions (SOOOO not my thing), and I’m still working on the krofne (doughnuts).

  8. whole wheat lasagna noodles!? Never even knew the existed!

  9. I’ve never made lasagna before. Im not sure why, its delicious, and oh so cheesy.

  10. I love homemade lasagna but rarely make it for some reason. Your recipe looks fantastic!

  11. I must admit I’m not an Italian person either I have learned to appreciate a good homemade lasagna, eggplant parmesan or chicken parmesan though! My mom makes a fantastic paella and I am terrified to try to make one, I don’t think it will match up!

  12. Way to make your honey proud!! If I cook chili for Travis, he swoons.
    BTW, what are you using for the print function? Would like to do that for the TT workouts.

  13. I really want to make baklava, but am terrified of the layers and all the nuts and stuff in the filling! I love making spanakopita, though…

  14. Kelly says:

    Keith’s mom makes some very traditional Jewish recipes that I have yet to even attempt. One of the days I might strike up the nerve…but for now I am content to just to go to my in-laws for authentic Jewish food. 🙂

  15. It’s funny, growing up in a completely Italian family, we hardly ever had lasagna! Christmas dinner was the only time. No hams or turkey over here. Americanized Italian dishes really give real Italian food a bad rap. It’s nothing like what we actually eat in Italy. Too bad too b/c it’s so much better over there!
    Nice job on the lasagna 🙂

  16. I can totally relate to your feelings toward Italian food! I’ll always choose Mexican over Italian any day, and I agree – I don’t usually feel quite satisfied with it and/or feel “blah” when I’m done eating it. I’ll make an Italian dish every once in awhile, but it’s not nearly as often as I make a Mexican-inspired meal (which is pretty much every week). Lasagna has actually been a dish that’s always intimidated me too, so I appreciate your recipe! I should try it, and then maybe I won’t be as intimidated. I like the vegetable addition too!

  17. It looks so delicious Tina and I’m Italian so I’m a good test. I was already hungry when I sat down at the computer…now I’m in BIG trouble!!

  18. I’ve always wanted to make a lasagna from sratch! Looks great 😀

  19. Italian food is my favorite cuisine of all time! Great job with the homemade lasagna. I’m from the Philippines and we have very strong cultural ties that revolve around food!

  20. I’m not usually a big pasta person either unless it has veggies and lean protein in it, but I do love some home cooked lasagna! Especially because with all the other stuff in it, it really ends up being not nearly as noodle heavy as a regular pasta dish. This makes me want to break out my lasagna recipe soon!

  21. Looks Yum! I made my first one during the week… I know what have I been doing but I was trying to track down Spelt Lasagna sheets because I can’t eat wheat!
    I’m a HUGE Italian Food Fan, you just can’t go wrong! 🙂

  22. I grew up on spaghetti and meatballs with…you guessed it, jarred pasta sauce 🙂

    Japanese food always manages to intimidate me-probably because of all the foreign ingredients!

  23. Aw, that reminds me of that family trip to Sicily, to visit my mom’s best friend who moved there … that’s when I learned how to make real Italian lasagna! I was about 14, and I still follow that recipe, minus the ground meat, of course.
    Guess it’s obvious that I love Italian food.
    As my husband is from Korea, we make lots of Korean dishes, usually several times a week. That’s his comfort food, and meanwhile I love it, too. I rarely crave the German dishes I grew up with, they’re way to meat-centered for me now.

  24. Lasagna is a comfort food in our house. It’s so good and pretty versatile.

    I’m Portuguese, so fish and soups with beans were a huge staple in my house. I still love both, but cooked very differently than my mom used to make (hello, fish doesn’t need to be fried to taste good!). Kale soup is something I’ve never tried, but would love to since I enjoyed it so much as a kid.

  25. I made a very similar lasagna last week! So good! Next time I have to add the squash though.

  26. That looks so good!! I LOVE my mom’s lasagna. We don’t have a lot of cultural ties so my family always ate a variety of things. I generally prefer pasta and italian dishes when the weather starts to get cooler!

  27. Yummm I love homemade lasagna. I’ve been meaning to make a gluten free/vegan one – I am going to get on that now!

  28. Mmm, I love Italian food! I love all the veggies you packed into this lasagna, too – great way to sneak them in.

    I have a lot of Polish family on my dad’s side, so growing up, Christmas Eve and other holidays always featured homemade pierogies and kielbasa – not the healthiest, but so good on special occasion!

  29. Lasagna is definitely one of those foods that intimidates me…and so do all soups, but I have no idea why….
    My fiance’s family is all about Mexican food! Luckily I can make a good pan of enchiladas 😉

  30. teresa says:

    I just bookmarked this recipe. Thanks!!!

  31. AmandaCG says:

    I made this a few days ago and it was phenomenal! Left overs for two days and the rest is going into the freezer for a rainy day!!! Thank you so much Tina!!!!

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