Last Thursday I was done with work relatively early. Early enough in fact, that I thought it would be the perfect time to try out Tyler Florence’s Ultimate Lasagna recipe. A recipe that my mom endorsed. Given that her lasagna is to-die-for, I thought I’d give it a try. Don’t let the ‘Easy’ difficulty level fool you though — this dish is no joke.
So, at 5:30pm I began with the sauce — which had quite a long list of ingredients, mostly herbs. These herbs were supposed to be processed but since I don’t have a food processor, I chopped them as finely as I could with my trusty Wusthof chef’s knife. (Note to self: Register for food processor!) I browned the meat, added the veggies, herbs, and tomatoes and let it simmer for a little bit. Then I mixed up the filling ingredients. Finally, after all that, I put big pot of water on the stove to boil. I’m not sure exactly how, but by the time I did this, it was already 8pm and M was starting to parade around the kitchen with his hunger face. At the rate I was going, the lasagna wasn’t going to be finished until at least 9:30. So, as much as I hated to do so, I made an executive decision and ordered a pizza pie. As much as I wanted to conquer lasagna, I didn’t want to starve my fiance in the process. I decided I’d finish the lasagna but then freeze it until sometime this week. So, while it came out exceptional-looking, I still haven’t tasted it. Although, if it tastes how it smells, it will definitely be worth the wait.
So, what’s the lesson learned here folks? Lasagna is a ‘weekend food.’ Only make it when you have several hours to burn — and even then, only when you have a food processor because mincing veggies and herbs by hand is quite time consuming. I think M & I are eating it tomorrow night. I’ll let you all know how it goes.
Update: After all of that work, I hate to report that I was ‘eh’ about the lasagna. I suppose I should have read the reviews on the recipe site and left out the cinnamon – it was really overwhelming. And even aside from that, the sauce wasn’t all that tasty (next time, I’m definitely sticking to my parents’ meat sauce recipe.) I should also mention that the measurements in Tyler’s recipe are not precise at all. All you really need is one box of lasagna noodles — I had to throw away an entire second box because I followed the recipe. So unfortunately, I have to declare this recipe a failure. (Sorry Tyler, I usually love your work.)
At some point in the future, I’ll try to make lasagna again. Hopefully, the next time, it will be a success.
If you’re still interested, here is Tyler’s Ultimate Lasagna Recipe:
- Prep Time: 20 min
- Inactive Prep Time: —
- Cook Time: 1 hr 30 min <– lie
- Level: Easy <– lie
- Serves: 8 servings
- 2 pound dried lasagna noodles <– 1 box is plenty
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 2 pound ground Italian sausage
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 1/4 cup finely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped oregano leaves
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups red wine
- 2 (28-ounce) cans tomatoes (recommended: San Marzano)
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon <– skip it!
- 2 quarts ricotta cheese, (2 containers)
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded
- Grated Parmesan and mozzarella, for topping
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cook the lasagna noodles in plenty of boiling salted water until pliable and barely tender, about 10 minutes. Stir with a wooden spoon to prevent sticking. Drain the noodles thoroughly and coat with olive oil to keep them moist and easy to work with.
- Coat a large skillet with olive oil, add beef and sausage and brown until no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. In a food processor, combine the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, basil, parsley, an oregano. Process until pureed, add to the pan with the ground meat and stir to combine. Stir in the flour. Add the wine and cook until it has reduced by half. Stir in the tomatoes and add the heavy cream and the cinnamon.
- In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta and the parmesan. Stir in the eggs and season with salt and pepper.
- To assemble the lasagna: Coat the bottom of a deep 13 by 9-inch pan with olive oil. Arrange 4 noodles lengthwise in a slightly overlapping layer on the sauce. Then, line each end of the pan with a lasagna noodle. This forms a collar that holds in the corners. Dollop 1/2 of the ricotta mixture over the pasta, spread to the edges with a spatula. Spread 1/2 of the meat mixture over the ricotta. Sprinkle 1/2 of the mozzarella on top of the ricotta. Top with a ladle full of sauce, spread evenly. Repeat with the next layer of noodles, ricotta, sauce, and cheeses. Top last layer with noodles, sauce, shredded mozzarella and Parmesan. Tap the pan to force out air bubbles. Bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven. Let lasagna rest for 30 minutes so the noodles will settle and cut easily. Cut into 2-inch squares and serve.