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Cucina di Paolo's Take Home Lasagna

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Gifts of food and certificates may seem like easy outs when the receiver was expecting something a little more personalized. But make it a lovely stoneware baking pan filled with Cucina di Paolo's savory take-and-bake lasagna with a certificate for 50 percent off the next order, and the person on the receiving end will be happier than Garfield on National Lasagna Day (July 29, by they way).

Proprietors Paul and Mary Jean Wegner came up with this novel way to give a great gift that Mary Jean said is not only good marketing for Cucina di Paolo--when the recipient comes in to use the coupon for a half-price lasagna refill, they can take in (and maybe take home) some of the other gastronomical gems in the joint--but it's good for the gift-giver as well.

"It's great karma for you," Mary Jean said. "Because any time your friend uses it, they'll think of you."

This isn't a cheap gift, either in presentation or in dollar outlay: it will run you $48. But keep in mind that dough nets you a pan-full of one of the Wegners' famous six-piece meat, chicken or vegetable lasagnas in 14 varieties, a refill for only $9.50 (regular price is $17), bragging rights as an incredible gift-giver and, if you're lucky, an invitation to dinner.

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