“The dish I enjoyed the most was the lasagna” exclaimed Helen.
In order for one to understand the level of the compliment, one had to be at Helen’s birthday party to see all of the dishes served.
There are a few ingredients that will make Helen’s Third Guarantee NEW Lasagna Recipe taste this way and if you can put your hands on these key ingredients, you will have found a key to lasagna heaven.
That said, you must find “Alta Cucina” or “Valoroso” California plum tomatoes by Stanislaus for not only this recipe, but for ANY that require canned tomatoes. San Marzano Italian tomatoes are great, however these take the cake! Restaurant Depot carries them in a “#10” can (108 ounces of heavenly tasting plum tomatoes).You need to be a member, so join up and reap the rewards. There are sooo many other products you will have at your fingertips. You can now secure them @ Amazon.com.
Another indispensable ingredient is “More Than Gourmet” Classic French Demi-Glace Gold veal & beef stock. Any specialty market should have this product.
That said…here are the ingredients in addition to the above.
3/4 Lb. Lasagna noodles
2 to 3 large cloves fresh garlic
1 peeled carrot
1 large diced onion
1 TBSP Demi Glace as outlined below
1/2 Lb. Each Beef, Veal, Pork or 50-50 Beef/Veal
1.5 cups red wine (never use cooking wine)
1 LB. whole milk mozzarella
1 pint whole milk ricotta
1/4 bar sweet unsalted butter
2-3 tsp kosher salt
Fresh mill pepper
First, make your marinara sauce using one can of the Alta Cucina or Valoroso tomatoes with juices. Saute 2 to 3 large cloves of chopped or sliced fresh garlic in 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), 1 tsp. kosher salt and one whole peeled carrot for sweetness (keep carrot whole). Cook on medium, stirring often to prevent the sauce from burning for about 1.5 hours or until water of tomatoes has dissipated.
In a separate pot, saute on medium heat one large diced onion in 2 tsp EVOO until transparent…add the now softened carrot from the marinara sauce (mash in pot with the onions), 1TBSP Demi Glace, 3/4 cup red wine, and tsp Kosher salt, and cook for a about 8-10 minutes or until the wine smell has evaporated. Remove from heat, pour contents into a bowl…add some fresh milled pepper and reserve.
In the same pot, add 1.5 lbs of beef, pork, veal mixture. You can substitute 50-50 veal and beef.
Add 1 tsp Kosher salt, one TBSP tomato paste to color beef a nice red (minimal flavor benefit and mostly aesthetic vs. pale brown beef). Break down meat with fork, cook until well done and then add another 3/4 cup red wine. Cook until wine smell evaporates and then add the onion and carrot mixture into the meat mixture and cook for another 5 minutes.Turn off heat.
In the above 5 minutes, slice and large dice 1 LB. whole milk mozzarella & one beaten egg and mix with 1 pint of ricotta cheese…reserving some of the mozzarella cheese to top the final layer.
Make the lasagna noodles any time during the time in which the sauce is cooking. Use Barilla, Ronzoni…whatever brand makes you happy. Boil the 1 lb box of pasta in plenty of salted water, lightly drain to keep some starch, reserve 1/4 cup of starched pasta water and immediately coat with sweet unsalted butter to keep from sticking together (use spoons as the pasta is still hot)…set aside. To separate noodles later, simply rinse with a bit more water.
In a 9×13 baking pan spread 1 tsp EVOO around inside of pan to coat.
Start the layering process (usually 4 slices of pasta per layer) as follows in order and repeat up to 4 times:
1 cup marinara sauce
beef and onion carrot mixture
fresh Parmigiano Reggiano
Bake at 450 for 20-25 minutes or until top is golden brown and almost crispy…then cover with foil and cook for another 20 minutes at 350.
Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
Please note…try to follow the tech tips and you will not only come out with a better dish, you will have learned tried and true techniques that work.
As always, please feel free to comment and if you have a suggestion, I (we) am/are never to old to learn.