My wife comes from a family of fantastic Italian cooks. Her grandma, Celia, made the best sauteed sweet peppers in the world. Her father, Domenic, has such good instincts for cooking that everything he makes just taste impeccably perfect. From his leg of lamb every Thanksgiving to his green beans smothered in his homemade tomato sauce. Because of my wife's family affiliation, I have learned to hold up my end of the bargain with my Italian dishes. I must say that I make a pretty mean arrabiata sauce.
I made an eggplant lasagna this evening which my family truly enjoyed. My eldest daughter, Margaux, actually had second helpings. I started the dish by making a ragu of beef with celery, onions, peppers, garlic, carrots, red pepper flakes, basil, salt, pepper and tomato sauce. I layered the sliced eggplant, ragu and mozzarella in a baking dish and baked it for about 30 minutes. The end result is a pleasant, hearty meal for a cold winter's night.