In 1970, my mother found herself in a holiday pickle. Single with four young children, she couldn't find a place for spiral-cut ham in her budget. What other dish could feed the 20 relatives who descended on our home on over the holidays?
Her easy, delicious, economical solution? Pans of hearty lasagna, served with baskets of hot garlic bread, a gigantic antipasti platter and plenty of Chianti.
That first year, a few of the "menfolk" groused. Now, four decades later, there'd be a revolution if my mom went back to ham and scalloped potatoes. Her holiday lasagna has become a tradition that spans from Christmas to New Year's eve.
To be sure, the lasagna has evolved over the years: She now makes spinach lasagna, and since our ranks have thinned a bit, she makes one pan, not two. But Ma still makes enough for leftovers.
—By Lisa Bertagnoli