A Tale of Two Lasagnas - MOD NOTE: You must read this even if you don't cook!

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Theognome

Burrito Bill
A TALE OF TWO LASAGNAS

Amongst my friends, and even amongst my enemies, I am known for making lasagna. I have many tales of my lasagna adventures, including the one about the person who ate herself to death. PM me if you want that story.

But I must admit that of all the Italian dishes that I’m known to prepare, lasagna is without a doubt the best of them all. And, I have received not a few requests from all over the Internet to post my lasagna recipe.

There does exist already a recipe for my lasagna, but I do not possess it. Here is the tale…

When I returned from the first Gulf War, I was stationed at the San Diego naval base, where I went to a tech school for almost a year learning a new radar system. Rather than living on base, I shared an apartment with four other squids in National City, which was only a few miles from work. Brett, Ken, TJ and Bill #2 (I was just ‘Bill’ among us) were my roommates.

Bill #2 was about as mama’s boyish as they come, complete with an utter inability to cook for himself. This guy could not make macaroni and cheese from the box. I kid you not- he was that inept. Cold cereal was the absolute limit of his culinary expertise.

Anyway, one weekend, while my other roommates were off elsewhere, I began to make my lasagna. By Saturday night, when they all came back, the apartment smelled of fresh pasta and simmering sauce. Sunday afternoon, which is when I served it up, over 40 persons, most of then neighbors who smelled it all weekend, showed up to eat of this pasta perfection.

Now Bill #2 was beside himself. He simply could not conceive that something like this was made at HIS apartment. So, he asked me for the recipe. I told him that I didn’t have one; I just made it.

“Bill,” he asked, “Could you make it again next duty free weekend, and write down your recipe as you do it?”

“Dude,” I replied, ”I just spent $150 bucks on this, and when I cook, I cook. I don’t write. If you want the recipe that bad, then you can buy the ingredients, and I’ll tell you the recipe as I do it. You can follow me around, and write down what I do as I do it. Then you’ll have the recipe.”

Unbelievably, he agreed to this. Three weeks later, I took him shopping, and we got everything I needed for another batch. And so, he wrote. And wrote. And wrote. Some dozen or so pages of instructions on how I made the lasagna. As I did something, I told him what I did. Now it did not occur to me at the time that cooking terms are a foreign language to some folks, and he had no idea what it meant when I said to blanch this or to mince that. He just wrote it down with sadistic glee.

The following weekend, we all went to the beach… all, that is, except for Bill #2. He played sick, and instead decided to make lasagna. But, as he could not understand his recipe, ha made a few shortcuts. He bought noodles, and didn’t know to cook them first. The sauce was ketchup. He bought breakfast sausage, and cheddar cheese. And, once he put all of this together, he baked it… for 5 hours.

We all came home to a fire alarm. The apartment was filled with smoke. Bill #2, beaming with pride, presented his culinary gem- a pan filled with charcoal.

Now understand that Bill #2 was a very sensitive kind of guy; his feelings were easily hurt. And he was expecting us to eat this thing of his. I told him that I was full from ice cream at the beach, but to save me some for later. Brett said that the cat would die from that, much less he eat it. Ken simply shook his head and repeated, “dude, dude, dude…” TJ offered to take it to class to share with his instructors. Thankfully, Bill #2 took him up on the offer.

Now what I’m about to post here is not for Bill #2’s lasagna, but rather the one that inspired it. So, here ya go.

THEOGNOME’S LASAGNA

*Note- I typically make huge amounts of the stuff, assembling the lasagna’s in turkey basking pans, and making enough to serve 60 persons or more. The stuff freezes extremely well (like most pasta), so if you follow the proportions here, make sure you’ve got freezer room. Otherwise, divide the recipe by 5.

1. The Sauce

*note- You will make new friends while this sauce simmers. The aroma fills a neighborhood.

A. Blanch, peel and seed about 10 pounds of fresh, homegrown tomatoes, and make about a gallon of tomato sauce. If fresh tomatoes are not available, get a gallon of tomato sauce. Don’t buy pre-made red sauce. That’s pure blasphemy.

B. Slice up a pound of Portabella mushrooms and toss them in.

C. Slice up another pound of regular mushrooms and toss them it, too.

D. Chop three large onions and throw into the pot.

E. Mince a whole lot of garlic. 40 or 50 cloves worth. Put it in.

F. You’ll need to add about 12 oz. of sliced black olives.

G. ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil needs to go in.

H. 1 ½ cup of brown sugar gets added.

I. Chop 2 pounds of Roma tomatoes and throw them in.

J. Add three to four tablespoons of celery salt.

K. I sometimes put in a cup of pickled artichoke hearts.

L. About ½ pound of red bell peppers, finely chopped, will do fine.

M. In a pot bigger than life size, bring this to a simmer extremely slowly. If it takes less than an hour to get it to simmer, you went too fast.

N. Once it’s simmering, add your fresh herbs- oregano, basil, cilantro, savory, rubbed sage, thyme, cracked fennel, marjoram and rosemary. Be generous with all, and spice to taste.

O. Hot stuff. Black and Cayenne pepper. Add to taste and then, once it’s as hot as you like it, add half again the amount of peppers you put in. Don’t worry, just do it.

P. Take a pound of mild Italian sausage, remove the skin, and lightly brown it nice and loose. Do not drain, but add whatever’s in the skillet to the sauce.

Q. Cover and simmer on incredibly low heat for 12 to 24 hours, stirring occasionally.

R. You may want to check it for spices/sweetness at the six hour mark, to see if it’s to taste. Remember that it will be spicier hot than you’d prefer. This is normal. The final product will be perfect. Trust me. Don’t make it too sweet, though.


The Pasta

*Note- If you make your own pasta, this whole process will take about two days to make. However, if you buy lasagna noodles in a box, you’ll never know what true lasagna heaven tastes like. Choose this day whom you will serve…

*note- if you make the amount of sauce that I spoke of above, you’ll need five to six batches of pasta. The following is a single batch.

A. Put a coupla cups of flour in a mixing bowl.

B. Put a coupla pinches of oregano, dried basil, sage and marjoram in with the flour, along with a healthy pinch of salt. Mix it together.

C. Beat two eggs, and add to the flour.

D. Add a tablespoon of olive oil.

E. Throw in about a half-cup of water.

F. Mix this all together real good.

G. On a floured counter, kneed this mass until it is nice and smooth. Then, cover it and let it sit for ten minutes or so.

H. Cut the dough into 4 portions.

I. (I rarely used a pasta machine) pass each portion through the machine repeatedly until you have 3 inch strips about 12 inches in length. If you roll the pasta with a rolling pin, roll each portion to about 1/16th inch thickness, about 12 inches by 18 inches. Cut the pasta along the short length (I use a pizza cutter for this) into six 3 inch strips. Dust the strips with flour, regardless of how you made them.

J. With fingers well floured, hold pasta end with one hand while with the other, run your fingers pinched along each edge. It’s kinda like using curling ribbon. This gives the lasagna its curly edges.

K. Hang the pasta to dry on a rack or even some clothes hangers if that’s all you got. Let it dry overnight.


Meats, cheeses and such

*note- I am a fanatic. Cheese is the stuff that the Israelites lived off of for 40 years in the wilderness.

A. 3 pounds of mild Italian Sausage. Skin and brown loose.

B. 3 pounds of Mozzarella cheese. Grated.

C. A pound of Ricotta cheese, too.

D. A pound of cottage cheese.

E. A wedge of Romano and a wedge of Parmesan both finely grated.

F. Muenster. ½ pound, medium grate.

G. Provolone, ½ pound, medium grate.

H. Monterey Jack is good, too. 1 pound.


4. Put it all together

*Note- boy, will you need counter space.

A. I a really huge pot, bring about two gallons of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons of Olive oil and about 20 fennel seeds to the water.

B. Boil some of your pasta al dente

C. Once cooked, using your lasagna pan, lay down pasta in the pan.

D. Ladle some sauce until the pasta is lightly covered.

E. Sprinkle sausage over the sauce.

F. Liberally apply mozzarella, and then add the other cheeses. Add them proportionally to the amounts you have. Romano and Parmesan should be used the least. Don’t go overboard with these two cheeses.

G. Repeat until the pan is full. Then, grab another pan until you’re out of stuff.


5. Cook and eat!

*Note- This stuff is really good. We (the roommates mentioned above) would get ‘pasta fuzzies’. That’s where you have eaten so much carbohydrates that the hairs on your arm stand up, but you’re so full that you can’t move. You just sit there, groan and watch you hairs dance. It’s a good feeling.

A. Heat the oven to 325 degrees.

B. Cook the lasagna for 35 minutes if you’re using a lasagna pan. If you’re using a turkey-roasting pan like I do, cook for one hour.



…And that’s it. Lasagna to die for. Enjoy!

Theognome
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
A TALE OF TWO LASAGNAS

Amongst my friends, and even amongst my enemies, I am known for making lasagna. I have many tales of my lasagna adventures, including the one about the person who ate herself to death. PM me if you want that story.

But I must admit that of all the Italian dishes that I’m known to prepare, lasagna is without a doubt the best of them all. And, I have received not a few requests from all over the Internet to post my lasagna recipe.

There does exist already a recipe for my lasagna, but I do not possess it. Here is the tale…

When I returned from the first Gulf War, I was stationed at the San Diego naval base, where I went to a tech school for almost a year learning a new radar system. Rather than living on base, I shared an apartment with four other squids in National City, which was only a few miles from work. Brett, Ken, TJ and Bill #2 (I was just ‘Bill’ among us) were my roommates.

Bill #2 was about as mama’s boyish as they come, complete with an utter inability to cook for himself. This guy could not make macaroni and cheese from the box. I kid you not- he was that inept. Cold cereal was the absolute limit of his culinary expertise.

Anyway, one weekend, while my other roommates were off elsewhere, I began to make my lasagna. By Saturday night, when they all came back, the apartment smelled of fresh pasta and simmering sauce. Sunday afternoon, which is when I served it up, over 40 persons, most of then neighbors who smelled it all weekend, showed up to eat of this pasta perfection.

Now Bill #2 was beside himself. He simply could not conceive that something like this was made at HIS apartment. So, he asked me for the recipe. I told him that I didn’t have one; I just made it.

“Bill,” he asked, “Could you make it again next duty free weekend, and write down your recipe as you do it?”

“Dude,” I replied, ”I just spent $150 bucks on this, and when I cook, I cook. I don’t write. If you want the recipe that bad, then you can buy the ingredients, and I’ll tell you the recipe as I do it. You can follow me around, and write down what I do as I do it. Then you’ll have the recipe.”

Unbelievably, he agreed to this. Three weeks later, I took him shopping, and we got everything I needed for another batch. And so, he wrote. And wrote. And wrote. Some dozen or so pages of instructions on how I made the lasagna. As I did something, I told him what I did. Now it did not occur to me at the time that cooking terms are a foreign language to some folks, and he had no idea what it meant when I said to blanch this or to mince that. He just wrote it down with sadistic glee.

The following weekend, we all went to the beach… all, that is, except for Bill #2. He played sick, and instead decided to make lasagna. But, as he could not understand his recipe, ha made a few shortcuts. He bought noodles, and didn’t know to cook them first. The sauce was ketchup. He bought breakfast sausage, and cheddar cheese. And, once he put all of this together, he baked it… for 5 hours.

We all came home to a fire alarm. The apartment was filled with smoke. Bill #2, beaming with pride, presented his culinary gem- a pan filled with charcoal.

Now understand that Bill #2 was a very sensitive kind of guy; his feelings were easily hurt. And he was expecting us to eat this thing of his. I told him that I was full from ice cream at the beach, but to save me some for later. Brett said that the cat would die from that, much less he eat it. Ken simply shook his head and repeated, “dude, dude, dude…” TJ offered to take it to class to share with his instructors. Thankfully, Bill #2 took him up on the offer.

Now what I’m about to post here is not for Bill #2’s lasagna, but rather the one that inspired it. So, here ya go.

THEOGNOME’S LASAGNA

*Note- I typically make huge amounts of the stuff, assembling the lasagna’s in turkey basking pans, and making enough to serve 60 persons or more. The stuff freezes extremely well (like most pasta), so if you follow the proportions here, make sure you’ve got freezer room. Otherwise, divide the recipe by 5.

1. The Sauce

*note- You will make new friends while this sauce simmers. The aroma fills a neighborhood.

A. Blanch, peel and seed about 10 pounds of fresh, homegrown tomatoes, and make about a gallon of tomato sauce. If fresh tomatoes are not available, get a gallon of tomato sauce. Don’t buy pre-made red sauce. That’s pure blasphemy.

B. Slice up a pound of Portabella mushrooms and toss them in.

C. Slice up another pound of regular mushrooms and toss them it, too.

D. Chop three large onions and throw into the pot.

E. Mince a whole lot of garlic. 40 or 50 cloves worth. Put it in.

F. You’ll need to add about 12 oz. of sliced black olives.

G. ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil needs to go in.

H. 1 ½ cup of brown sugar gets added.

I. Chop 2 pounds of Roma tomatoes and throw them in.

J. Add three to four tablespoons of celery salt.

K. I sometimes put in a cup of pickled artichoke hearts.

L. About ½ pound of red bell peppers, finely chopped, will do fine.

M. In a pot bigger than life size, bring this to a simmer extremely slowly. If it takes less than an hour to get it to simmer, you went too fast.

N. Once it’s simmering, add your fresh herbs- oregano, basil, cilantro, savory, rubbed sage, thyme, cracked fennel, marjoram and rosemary. Be generous with all, and spice to taste.

O. Hot stuff. Black and Cayenne pepper. Add to taste and then, once it’s as hot as you like it, add half again the amount of peppers you put in. Don’t worry, just do it.

P. Take a pound of mild Italian sausage, remove the skin, and lightly brown it nice and loose. Do not drain, but add whatever’s in the skillet to the sauce.

Q. Cover and simmer on incredibly low heat for 12 to 24 hours, stirring occasionally.

R. You may want to check it for spices/sweetness at the six hour mark, to see if it’s to taste. Remember that it will be spicier hot than you’d prefer. This is normal. The final product will be perfect. Trust me. Don’t make it too sweet, though.


The Pasta

*Note- If you make your own pasta, this whole process will take about two days to make. However, if you buy lasagna noodles in a box, you’ll never know what true lasagna heaven tastes like. Choose this day whom you will serve…

*note- if you make the amount of sauce that I spoke of above, you’ll need five to six batches of pasta. The following is a single batch.

A. Put a coupla cups of flour in a mixing bowl.

B. Put a coupla pinches of oregano, dried basil, sage and marjoram in with the flour, along with a healthy pinch of salt. Mix it together.

C. Beat two eggs, and add to the flour.

D. Add a tablespoon of olive oil.

E. Throw in about a half-cup of water.

F. Mix this all together real good.

G. On a floured counter, kneed this mass until it is nice and smooth. Then, cover it and let it sit for ten minutes or so.

H. Cut the dough into 4 portions.

I. (I rarely used a pasta machine) pass each portion through the machine repeatedly until you have 3 inch strips about 12 inches in length. If you roll the pasta with a rolling pin, roll each portion to about 1/16th inch thickness, about 12 inches by 18 inches. Cut the pasta along the short length (I use a pizza cutter for this) into six 3 inch strips. Dust the strips with flour, regardless of how you made them.

J. With fingers well floured, hold pasta end with one hand while with the other, run your fingers pinched along each edge. It’s kinda like using curling ribbon. This gives the lasagna its curly edges.

K. Hang the pasta to dry on a rack or even some clothes hangers if that’s all you got. Let it dry overnight.


Meats, cheeses and such

*note- I am a fanatic. Cheese is the stuff that the Israelites lived off of for 40 years in the wilderness.

A. 3 pounds of mild Italian Sausage. Skin and brown loose.

B. 3 pounds of Mozzarella cheese. Grated.

C. A pound of Ricotta cheese, too.

D. A pound of cottage cheese.

E. A wedge of Romano and a wedge of Parmesan both finely grated.

F. Muenster. ½ pound, medium grate.

G. Provolone, ½ pound, medium grate.

H. Monterey Jack is good, too. 1 pound.


4. Put it all together

*Note- boy, will you need counter space.

A. I a really huge pot, bring about two gallons of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons of Olive oil and about 20 fennel seeds to the water.

B. Boil some of your pasta al dente

C. Once cooked, using your lasagna pan, lay down pasta in the pan.

D. Ladle some sauce until the pasta is lightly covered.

E. Sprinkle sausage over the sauce.

F. Liberally apply mozzarella, and then add the other cheeses. Add them proportionally to the amounts you have. Romano and Parmesan should be used the least. Don’t go overboard with these two cheeses.

G. Repeat until the pan is full. Then, grab another pan until you’re out of stuff.


5. Cook and eat!

*Note- This stuff is really good. We (the roommates mentioned above) would get ‘pasta fuzzies’. That’s where you have eaten so much carbohydrates that the hairs on your arm stand up, but you’re so full that you can’t move. You just sit there, groan and watch you hairs dance. It’s a good feeling.

A. Heat the oven to 325 degrees.

B. Cook the lasagna for 35 minutes if you’re using a lasagna pan. If you’re using a turkey-roasting pan like I do, cook for one hour.



…And that’s it. Lasagna to die for. Enjoy!

Theognome

No. No. You don't get to make a post like this and leave all of us hungry. That is cruel and unusual punishment. Rich, you know this guy? Invite him to your house and we will have the first annual PB pasta-thon. Bill can make his lasagna and I will make a brasciole with falafel that will cause salivating at the mere mention of the dish. Rich, you get to buy the wine. Pinot Noir since pasta is being served.
 

Blue Tick

Puritan Board Graduate
But, as he could not understand his recipe, ha made a few shortcuts. He bought noodles, and didn’t know to cook them first. The sauce was ketchup. He bought breakfast sausage, and cheddar cheese. And, once he put all of this together, he baked it… for 5 hours.

:lol:

Breakfast sausage... and ketchup! Sorry, I'm Italian, that's unlawful!
 

Theognome

Burrito Bill
Ooh! can I make a side dish of one of my own creations I call Crab Tortelloni Tuscany, too?

Theognome
 

Blue Tick

Puritan Board Graduate
Lasagna (singular, pronounced [laˈzaɲa] in Italian; plural lasagne pronounced [laˈzaɲe]) is both a form of pasta in sheets (sometimes rippled, though seldom so in Northern Italy) and also a dish, sometimes named lasagne al forno (meaning "oven-cooked lasagne") made with alternate layers of pasta, cheese, and often ragù (a meat sauce) or tomato sauce. In Italy the dish is called "Lasagne" and not "Lasagna".

The word lasagna, which originally applied to a cooking pot, now simply describes the food itself.Most English-speaking people follow the Italian usage and use the plural "lasagne" to refer to both the dish and the pasta, but Americans commonly use the singular "lasagna".

Origin
Although the dish is generally believed to have originated in Italy, the word "lasagna" comes from the Greek λάσανα (lasana) or λάσανον (lasanon) meaning "trivet or stand for a pot", "chamber pot". The Romans borrowed the word as "lasanum", in Latin, meaning "cooking pot". The Italians used the word to refer to the dish in which lasagna is made. It wasn't long before the name of the food took on the name of the serving dish.

Another theory suggests that lasagna might come from Greek λάγανον (laganon), a flat sheet of pasta dough cut into strips.

The recipe was featured in the first cookbook ever written in England, leading to an urban legend that the dish originated in the British Isles The claim is dubious, in light of the much earlier Roman use of "lasanum".

Source Wikipedia
 
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