Editor's note: For this week's Tribune Cooks, Chuck Profera, the Tribune Chronicle pressroom manager, has prepared a family recipe of his own invention and written about it and his experiences in the kitchen.
By CHUCK PROFERA
Tribune Chronicle photos / Chuck Profera
A completed batch of Pinwheel Lasagna is ready to eat.
I was raised in an Italian household and grew up eating pasta. My mom, grandmothers and great-grandmothers were great Italian cooks.
I learned from them but have gone one step further. I like to experiment with food and create my own dishes.
I know we had pasta at least twice a week when I was growing up - it was great!
1 package lasagna noodles
4 cups ricotta cheese
2 cup mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup romano cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons parsley flakes
Red pasta sauce - You can either make your favorite recipe or use bottled or canned sauce. You will need enough sauce to cover your pasta after it is baked.
Boil lasagna noodles according to the directions on the box. Mix together the cheeses, eggs, salt, pepper and parsley flakes. Lay out noodles on a flat surface and spread about 4 tablespoons of cheese mixture on each noodle. Roll up noodle.
Grease a 9-x-13 inch casserole dish and add enough sauce to just cover the bottom of the dish.
Put the rolled up noodles in the dish and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Top with more pasta sauce.
So now that I'm out on my own, I cook for my family, creating different meals, using different spices to create my own special dishes.
From these experiments came Pinwheel Lasagna. Those who were fortunate to taste it loved it and are anxious for me to make it again.
I love taking over the kitchen. I can remember when I was in the Army, stationed in Germany, my parents came to visit. Mom asked if I wanted her to cook anything special while she was there, and I responded with, "What can you make that I can't make?"
I have even taken a recipe of my grandmother's and redid it to suit my own tastes, and the family loves it. An Italian parish in Niles makes it and calls it Potato Pizza. I cannot pronounce the name in Italian that my grandmother called it, but what I make is close enough to the real thing, but different. We call it Potato Pie instead of pizza.
Here is one of our favorites. It is called Pinwheel Lasagna.