As part of dia de los muertos, we try to cook foods that our family loved. My Sizzy, mom’s mom, evidently used to make a great lasagne with red wine in it. Sometime in the almost 20 years and 10 moves since Sizzy’s death the recipe got lost. Mom remembered it had red wine in it and we went from there.

Sizzy’s Lasagne

Adapted from here


1 pound sweet Italian sausage
3/4 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup minced onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 of a 6 ounce can tomato paste
1.5 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
1 cup red wine
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
1 tablespoon anise seeds
1 tablespoon oregano
1/2 cup plus 4 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
24 lasagna noodles
28 ounces ricotta cheese
8 oz chopped sauteed mushrooms
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  1. In a Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and red wine. Season with basil, anise seeds, oregano, 4 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, 1/2 cup parsley, and mushrooms.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  4. To assemble, layer: sauce, noodles, ricotta and mozzarella, noodles, sauce and parmesan, noodles, ricotta and mozzarella, noodles, sauce and parmesan. Bake for 25 minutes. Add final layer of mozzarella and bake for 25 minutes more. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Less noodles can be used but we prefer a sturdier lasagne. Mom said it was even better today.