Though it may be St. Patrick’s Day (and I’ll be tipping my hat to my husband’s Irish heritage by serving garlic mashed potatoes and artichokes for dinner) I’ve got my mind on another upcoming holiday: Easter. This year I’m having my father, brother, and in-laws for dinner (the first time I’ve hosted a holiday in our apartment) and I’ve been thinking about my menu. Most likely I’ll serve lasagna as the main course, but I was worried about the temperature of the lasagna I made a few weeks ago. So I turned to my arsenal of experts for the answer. In this case, it was Christie’s mom, Betty, who is an amazing cook. (Her meatballs may be the best I’ve ever eaten in my life.) I emailed Betty this afternoon to ask her what the secret is to serving a lasagna that, when sliced into squares, emerges perfectly intact AND piping hot. The key, says Mama Ciaburri, is to limit the amount of sauce you put between the layers of meat and cheese, but to keep the sauce you serve atop the lasagna extra hot. Which makes perfect sense when you think about it. Since you’re ladling “gravy” over the pasta before you serve it, there’s really no need to lay it on thick between each layer. Betty also told me that I let my lasagna sit for too long (45 minutes) and that it really only needed to set for 15-20. Eureka! Thanks for the tips Betty! Got any for perfect pie crusts? I’m also planning on making a ricotta pie for dessert, using my mother’s recipe. The crust is always difficult for me (clearly this apple doesn’t fall far from its tree. My mother threw away many a pie crust in disgust after not being able to roll them out in one piece) but I will be sure to post pictures of the process when I break out the rolling pin in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, Happy St. Paddy’s Day!