A happy family. [Photograph: Eater]

Sit back, grab a beer, and get ready to rumble—temperatures are rising over remarks made about a certain controversial lasagna recipe. You probably have already heard that gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo is dating the semi-homemade Food Network star Sandra Lee. As if it weren't enough that Sandra is threatening New York State's very food reputation, she's gone so far as to insult Andrew's mother, Matilda Cuomo.

The candidate's mother was recently being interviewed about, among other things, her son's relationship status. While she offered little comment about the possibility of marriage on the horizon, she had much to say about Sandra's lasagna recipe, which contains two cans of Campbell's tomato soup, and two cups of cottage cheese. While she conceded that Sandra might use cottage cheese because Andrew is trying to watch his weight, she added: "That's not the way you make a lasagna." Boo-ya! (Apparently, she uses ricotta cheese, herbs, and parmesan in her own lasagna recipe. Just sayin'.)


Mmm, lasagna. [Photograph: Bon Appetit]

So I did some investigating. Why would these ungodly substitutions be necessary, Sandra? Well, like most things in her semi-homemade world, these ingredients must be more cost efficient than the original. Let's check it out.

The typical can of Campbell's tomato soup, according to online grocery store service Peapod, costs $1.67 for a 10-oz can, bringing the total for the recipe to $3.34. A 16-oz package of Breakstone cottage cheese costs $2.99. Bringing the total to $6.33.

If you were to, however, go off of a recipe from say, Mario Batali, you would be shopping for two 28-oz cans of whole peeled tomatoes, which Hunt's sells for $2.00 each ($4.00 total), and 4 ounces of ricotta cheese. A 15-oz package of Polly-O ricotta cheese goes for $3.99, but your lasagna's 4-oz portion only sets you back a little more than $1.00. So your total for Mario's lasagna is $5.00.

So, there you go; you don't have to use tomato soup and cottage cheese for cost efficiency. On time-saving, the jury's still out. But if you do it for flavor, however... well, let us know how that goes.


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