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Profile: Retirees John Schunhoff, Ken Titley & Sausage Prosciutto Lasagna

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    John Schunhoff (right) & Ken Titley (left)
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    Sausage Prosciutto Lasagna
  • 3/10
    Lasagna ingredients
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    Grating mozzarella
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    Mozzarella, ricotta & egg mixture
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    Layering the lasagna with no-boil noodles
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    Final layer
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    Cover with aluminum foil and bake
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    Sausage Prosciutto Lasagna
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    Sausage Prosciutto Lasagna

Text, photos and food cooked by Michal Martinek

May 19, 2016

Print this recipe

John Schunhoff and Ken Titley are very good cooks. Every Saturday, John looks at the calendar for the week ahead to see if he and his husband Ken will be eating at home or somewhere else. He then consults a fat binder filled with recipe ideas and menus they cooked in the past, and he makes a detailed shopping list. Early on Sunday, while Ken sleeps in, John hits the farmers market in Hollywood for seasonal fruit and vegetables, and the Original Farmers Market for groceries: meat and chicken at Huntington Meats & Sausage, fish at Tusquellas Seafood, and cheeses, wine and olives at Monsieur Marcel.

John was interested in the culinary world growing up, but sadly, he wasn’t encouraged. “My father didn’t think it was manly to spend time in the kitchen and usually wouldn’t let me,” he remembers. But his mother was a great cook who made American classics—like fried chicken, corn on the cob, and pies—and she appreciated John’s assistance. “We made apple, boysenberry, blueberry and banana cream pies, all from scratch. I still make her sherry soaked fruitcake.”

Once a year, John and Ken host a big holiday party for 60 guests at their house. They create a lavish menu—which is not complete without a variety of their cookies (lavender/lemon and macaroons, to name a few)—and develop a timeline and a detailed list of what to get.

“We love cooking and entertaining,” John tells me in the dining nook of their cozy, art-filled Los Angeles home, which they share with three pugs (Rascal, Achilles and Tyler) and two cats (Abner and Zev).

Together now for 39 years, John and Ken met at a bar in Orange County, California, in the 1970s—“During the disco days,” quips Ken. “We were married on Halloween 2008, before Proposition 8 passed,” adds John. “We were in a legal limbo for a while, but it all worked out.”

Age John is 69; Ken is 63. — Hometown John was born in Missouri. Ken was born and grew up in Newport Beach, California.
 — Where do you live? Los Angeles, Miracle Mile District.
 — Occupation Both retired. Ken was a film production location manager; John was a county executive manager in health and public health.
 — Signature dish Lots of them, but we gave you two recipes. {Sausage Prosciutto Lasagna; Roaste Mushroom Flatbread With Spicy Tomato-Pepper Jam and Caramelized Onions] — Who taught you how to cook? John was taught by his mother; Ken is self-taught.
 — Favorite kitchen tool Mini food processor.
 — Always in your pantry So much—always have onions, bananas, shallots, garlic.
 — Go-to snack Don’t snack much.
 — Favorite cuisine Mediterranean.
 — Do you diet? No. — Food addictions None. — Food allergies None. — Food fad pet peeve Ken doesn’t like “blackened” food, an old food fad. — Who’s your sous chef? Ken is a great sous chef.
 — Drinking while cooking? Yes. — What’s for dinner tonight? Braised chicken with artichokes and olives.
 — Do you ever cry over spilled milk? No. — Best meal you ever had So many, but the game dishes at Au Petit Marguery in Paris are fabulous.


Sausage Prosciutto Lasagna

This delightful, flavor-packed lasagna is one of John’s favorite dishes to cook. “It is my most successful recipe,” he says. “I make it at least once a month.” Oozing with melted mozzarella, ricotta and tomato sauce, layered with feathery noodles, and accented with a salty-spicy tang of two different sausages and prosciutto, it is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.

When testing this recipe, I used whole wheat, no-boil lasagna pasta to save time. The original recipe from Bon Appetit calls for smoked mozzarella; if you can’t find that, the regular kind works perfectly fine.

O

  1. Serves 6–8
  2. Sauce
  3. 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  4. 1 pound fresh spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
  5. 2 ounces sliced prosciutto, chopped
  6. ½ cup spicy dried chorizo, chopped
  7. 2 cups onions, peeled, chopped
  8. 1 celery stalk, chopped
  9. 3 garlic cloves, peeled, chopped
  10. 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  11. ¼ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  12. 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  13. 1 28-ounce can tomatoes in juice, chopped, juice reserved
  14. 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  15. Lasagna
  16. 12 10x2-inch lasagna noodles
  17. 1 15-ounce container whole-milk ricotta cheese
  18. 3 cups smoked or regular mozzarella cheese, grated, divided
  19. 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  20. ½ teaspoon salt
  21. ¼ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  22. 1 tablespoon olive oil

1

Prepare the sauce. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the sausage, break it down with a wooden spoon, and brown, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Add the chorizo and prosciutto, and cook for 1 minute. Transfer the mixture to a bowl.

2

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in the same saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery, garlic, oregano and red pepper flakes. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, tomatoes with their juice, basil and sausage mixture. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

3

Prepare the lasagna. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook the lasagna noodles until al dente. Drain and arrange the noodles in a single layer on a baking sheet.

4

In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta with 1½ cups mozzarella, stir in the egg, and season with salt and pepper.

5

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and brush a 13x9x2–inch baking pan with the olive oil.

6

Spread 1 cup tomato sauce over the bottom of the pan. Arrange 3 noodles on top of the sauce. Spread ¾ cup of the cheese mixture over the noodles. Spoon 1½ cups sauce over the top.

7

Repeat with the noodles, cheese mixture, and sauce 2 more times. Cover with 3 noodles and sprinkle with the rest of the mozzarella. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 40 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil and continue baking for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Comments


1 reader comment on Profile: Retirees John Schunhoff, Ken Titley & Sausage Prosciutto Lasagna.

Kristin Henning said:

This looks great!  Can’t wait to try it, even in my pared down kitchen.

May 19 at 8:53 pm

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