Date Cooked: January 12, 2009 Page: 282 Rating: A-
My favorite lasagna ever is a President’s Choice Vegetable Lasagna (a national grocery store chain’s brand). I love it dearly even though it contains no meat. There meat lasagna on the other hand is pretty bland and is typical of most of the lasagna I’ve eaten. I was hoping this recipe would strive to be better and if it could topple my current favorite then all the better… because this one contains meat!
Before anything could be eaten though, I had to get this thing put together. As with the past few dinners this was a coordinated effort between my wife and I. I started things off by making the sauce for the lasagna. In a dutch oven some onion and garlic was softened before a mixture of ground meats was added (veal, pork and beef). Once the meat was cooked through, cream was added and reduced to pretty much just the fat. Then I dumped in the tomatoes. This part scared me because as mentioned before, neither my wife nor I are huge tomato fans. Well I am proud to say I am beginning to tolerate them. The sauce was simmered while I got the cheese mixture put together.
For the cheese layers of the lasagna I mixed ricotta and parmesan cheese with fresh basil, salt and pepper. This would be used with the ton of shredded cheese to create a truly cheesy lasagna. The recipe calls for no-boil pasta noodles but we opted to use fresh whole wheat lasagna noodle sheets. Well the ingredients were ready it was time to assemble. My wife did this part… I think I had to run to the store because we didn’t buy enough pasta noodles.
Sauce starts us off before the first noodles get laid down. Next went some ricotta, then meat, then shredded cheese, then noodles, then repeat, repeat, repeat until everything is used up. The whole thing was topped with lots more shredded cheese (with a little parmesan thrown in for bite.)
Covered in foil it had a chance to rest in the oven for about 40 minutes. I ended up leaving it for an additional 10 minutes because it wasn’t looking done. I’m glad I did. Once removed from the oven it sat for a few minutes to cool slightly so I could remove it from the pan. I cut a slice and held my breath as I tried to wrestle it out of the pan without turning it into a mangled pile of noodles, cheese and meat. I was surprised with the result.
Rating: A-. It was damn fine lasagna. It wasn’t full of liquid which I find common with a lot of lasagna and is a real bonus to this one. I don’t like soggy lasagna. It tasted nice and cheesy and the meat was nicely dispersed that I didn’t feel like I was eating a hamburger wrapped in saucy noodles. It didn’t topple the vegetable lasagna but I will never buy another meat lasagna again. I can make a much better one now.
I am a husband to a loving wife that shares my same interest for food and cooking. I am a father to two sons (and a newborn son) that have an aversion to food. I'm also a pretty bad cook... which could be their problem... but I'm working on it.
I'm attempting to cook-through 'The New Best Recipe' for two reasons. I want to educate myself on the culinary arts a little and I want to provide better and hopefully more interesting meal options for my family... oh yeah plus I find food photography real exciting so it gives me a chance to justify why I take pictures of food!