Monday, December 20, 2010

Tyler's Ultimate Lasagna

It's been a blustery, wet and cold past few days (OK, weeks) here in SF. Exactly the kind of weather that calls for something heartwarming and belly-busting like this ultimate lasagna bolognese recipe, created by comfort food king himself, Tyler Florence. (Have you seen how fat he's become since coming out West?)

Anyway, I've made this baked pasta twice before and backed off on the amount of meat Tyler asks for—4 pounds?! Whoa, Nellie. I think 2.5 will do just fine—and the creation still hits the jackpot in terms of rich, creamy, fatty taste sensation and satisfaction.

Rather than puree the holy trinity of onion, celery and carrot, I cut 'em up into a fine dice. What can I say—I find chopping veg therapeutic; it's part of the fun in cooking (though I've got to admit my hand-me-down Cuisinart was busted. That said, I like a little texture in my sauce). I also doubled the amount of basil and Italian parsley than the recipe includes. And I browned the meat and veg separately (though using the same Dutch oven), to make sure to build good flavor in both.

After layering the casseroles (and frankly, I don't know how Tyler does all of the prep, cooking and assembling all within an hour and a half—maybe he's got sous chefs to help him out; I certainly don't!), I threw 'em in a 350-degree oven for one hour, et voilĂ ! Massive amounts of what's become my fave lasagna recipe. I served hefty helpings along with a peppery arugula, cherry tomato and shaved Parmesan salad to four eager friends. Despite their big appetites and doggie bags sent home with a few, I had plenty left over to freeze for future "fast-food" dinners. Yay!

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