Friday, August 7, 2009

Lasagna--in his own words

You all know Seth is one of the best guys in the world already. Here's proof if you were in doubt. He made me two lasagnas for the retreat at Siltcoos. My cabin-mate, begged for his recipe and here is his response:

Right, lasagna.
Ummm, I make it different every time.  But the idea is pasta in sauce.  I once had a white lasagna in Florence maybe that was to die for, but really was just a bowl of widish noodles in a nice white sauce.
So start with sauce.  For that red sauce I just used canned organic tomato chunks, and/or sauce.  Fresh are different and yummy too, but cook them down some.  I saute' garlic in a hot pan, a little salt, a couple of teaspoons of pepper and some dry basil or oregano or both.  Then add a quarter or half cup or the sauce to the pan with a few tablespoons of red wine (or port I think I had for that Lag you had) and stir, but let it damn well almost burn to the pan.  That really kicks up the sauce flavor.  Then add the rest of the sauce and simmer it to reduce it a bit if necessary.  Your sauce shouldn't be too thick, though, 'cause the noodles suck it up.
Meanwhile make filling junk.
Cook some onions in a bit of oil on med high heat 'till they are soft and sweet.  Add white wine and a lid for a few minutes after a few minutes and they get softer and sweeter faster.
Also mushrooms if you wish.  I use another pan so flavors don't get too muddled.  White wine works good on them too.
Make maybe 3 cups of grated cheeze per lasagna,
Mix 1 pint ricotta with and egg in a bowl.
Wash fresh spinach or basil.
And some where in there get a gallon and a half of water boiling in three gallon pot.  When it boils, add a few table spoons of salt.  Then cook a box of noodles.  Put 'em in individually so they don't all stick together ( they will any way), and for maybe 5 minutes.  They should still be a bit tough, 'cause they will cook more .  Tong them out into a bowl of cold water so you can handle them. Cook another  1/2 box the same way.  That should be enough for one. Proly. (You can also used uncooked fresh noodles, or even dry if you add tons of water or sauce to the pan for them to cook in.)
Preheat oven to 360 degrees.
In a baking pan put sauce, then noodles, then whatever, layering in noodles and adding sauce as you go. Just spread stuff evenly. Top with noodles, sauce and cheese.
You should see liquid up the side of the dish, so the noodles are kinda floating.  Add pasta water around the corners and edges.
Cook for around 45 min.  The whole mess should be boiling. Cover for the last 10 or so.  Best left over.
Cheers, Seth

P.S. from Laura: well, that was about the easiest post ever for me at least. 
P.P.S. You cook it hotter than you might think--like 450 to start then 425 when you put it in. Oh, and never heat up anything with tomato sauce touching aluminum foil--the hot acids dissolve the foil into your food. you can guess how I learned that.
P.P.P.S. Enjoy!

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