We've been talking about doing lasagna for a while, but other recipes would crop up and push poor lasagna out of the way. No longer! Andy finally pushed the issue last night--and after seeing the recipe, I couldn't resist. So we ventured out for a ton of ingredients and a nice bottle of chianti (fava beans omitted, har har har.)
For the sauces...I know I'm always championing do-it-yourself, but this time around I followed Andy's suggestion of just buying the marinara and pesto, for the sake of time and money and clean dishes and the depletion of all my basil stock last time I made pesto. But I stopped short of buying alfredo--it's way too easy and quick to make on your own. Next time, though, I will concoct all my marinara dadgummit!
Last night we began by grating the cheese and putting the water onto boil. This took foreeeever because of the amount of water, so make sure to arm yourself with some patience. We used two packages of lasagna noodles, which ended up being just a little more than enough. Once the water had finally reached a rapid boil, we added the noodles, submerging them as much as possible, and letting them cook down for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile I made the alfredo sauce. If you're not familiar with this process, it just involves melting butter on medium low heat, adding cream and letting it simmer for five minutes, and then stirring in parmesan and crushed garlic and stirring until the cheese has melted. Add chopped parsley and you're done! Make sure to use freshly grated parmesan, otherwise it won't melt as well and you'll have a mess of goopy parmesan strings.
At this point, Andy browned the ground beef and then stirred in the marinara for a nice chunky sauce.
Once the noodles were done, we made the base of the crust in a large, oven-safe bowl (well-coated with cooking spray.)
I snipped some of the dangling noodles and used those bits to help make the noodle dividers between layers. We began with three alfredo layers, adding salami to the first and third. I ended up making more alfredo for the end of this recipe, but I wish I'd stocked up on more from the beginning. You can never have too much alfredo.
Next we had a layer of pesto, topped it with parmesan, provolone, and parmesan, then a bit more pesto.
We took a minute here to preheat the oven to 350. Then it was time for the marinara layers! At this point, we were running out of room. We had only been pressing the layers down occasionally, when we probably should have done it every time. But believe me, it was more than enough. To combat the space issue, we just did two layers of marinara. On the top layer, we dotted clumps of ricotta on top.
Finally we covered this top layer with strips of lasagna, folded over the ends of the base noodles, and brushed everything with alfredo sauce as a glue.
The lasagna cooked for almost an hour and fifteen minutes. I took it out a few minutes beforehand, after noticing it looked like this:
Still tasty, but on the verge of disaster!
We let it rest for twenty minutes before we approached again. Flipping this baby over was an adventure, but we secured the top with a platter, slid the bowl off the counter and inverted it back down. Thanks to my good friend cooking spray (she's asked me to call her Pam), the bowl slid off quite easily! Oven mitts were required due to the heat of the bowl. And after all that, it really looked like something had been birthed.
|Gaze upon it.|
Be careful when cutting this. I advise long deliberate strokes with your knife, otherwise it's going to fall apart.
But there you have it! It's hard to nail down exact ingredients for this recipe, because a lot of this is like a canvas, and you're welcome to add whatever you'd like!
Lasagna Timpano (adapted from The Food in My Beard):
2 16 oz.-pkgs. lasagna noodles
3 c. parmesan
1 c. provolone
2 c. mozzarella
4 oz. sliced salami
1 lb. lean ground beef
3 c. marinara
3 c. marinara
2 c. pesto
1/2 c. ricotta
1/2 c. butter
2 c. heavy whipping cream
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 c. parsley, chopped