Oct 25, 2010

Tyler`s Ultimate Lasagna

Lasagna

The moment I laid eyes on Tyler Florence’ lasagna recipe on Food Network—after I managed to drag my eyes off of his fine-looking ehh, well, everything—I just knew this indeed had the potential of being the ultimate lasagna recipe.

Why? Well, the first thing I noticed was his Bolognese sauce: it’s spiked with different vegetables (and fresh herbs) that I was sure would flavor the sauce like no one’s business. I added some bell pepper because I thought it would enhance the flavor even more. And it did.

The second thing I’ve noticed: combining Bolognese sauce with cottage cheese (egg and parmesan) in lasagna is fairly basic, but he used ricotta instead. Brilliant! Ricotta and cottage cheese, though both very mild in flavor, have entirely different structures. In short, ricotta is made from the whey and cottage cheese is made from curds.

So if you’re blessed with men in your life who scream like a little girl at the thought of eating cottage cheese, know that ricotta has a similar flavor but a finer and more moist structure. It’s lighter, creamier and less lumpy so it will really blend in creating a phenomenal creamy, rich lasagna that your family will devour! Mark my words.


Ingredients:

1/2 to 1 package lasagna noodles
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground sausage
1 medium onion
2 garlic cloves
1 reasonably sized carrot
1 stalk celery
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 cup beef broth
fresh basil (or 2 tbsp dried basil)
flat-leaf parsley (or 2 tbsp dried parsley)
oregano (or 1 tbsp dried oregano)
pinch dried basil
2 14oz cans diced tomatoes
1 6oz can tomato paste
2 tbsp milk
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3 cups ricotta
2 eggs
2/3 cup grated Parmesan
2 large mozzarella balls (roughly one pound)
parmesan (for topping)
pepper
salt

Optional: 1/2 cup red wine – 3 tbsp heavy cream – 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Note:

Few things I’ve tweaked:

Tyler added cinnamon to his sauce. Yeah, he sure did. It sounded like a freak combo and well, it was. Tried it, didn’t care for it and replaced it with nutmeg. Tomato sauces need a pinch of nutmeg anyway.

I omitted the flour, didn’t see the point in adding it. Same applies to the heavy cream he used. I felt it was overkill so I replaced it with skim milk. I also substituted the dry red wine he used for beef broth and added a can of tomato paste to intensify the tomato flavor.



Directions:

The meat: here’s 1 pound ground beef and one pound sausage (I just took them out of their casings). If you can get your hands on Italian sausage, go for that.
Lasagna

Some veggies to create an even more intense flavor bomb.
Lasagna

You can chop it all by hand, but I just threw it all into my food processor and blitzed a few times.
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If you’re going for fresh herbs (it really tastes better!), add a handful oregano, basil and parsley.
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Blitz a few more times until everything is finely minced.
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I don’t add my garlic to the food processor because chances are you’ll end up with huge chunks. I prefer to grate it.
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Brown the ground beef—while breaking it up with a spatula or spoon—until it’s no longer pink. Drain off all the fat. Yes, all of it!
Lasagna

I just saved you an angioplasty. No worries, I’ll send you the bill later.

Add the minced vegetables and cook for a minute or 2. Then add the garlic, beef broth and a good pinch of black pepper, stir well and simmer for 15 minutes. You can replace the beef broth with dry red wine if you like.
Lasagna

Spoon in the tomato paste and cook for a minute to sweeten it.
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Pour in the diced tomatoes.
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Season with salt (I’ve added 2 tsp salt and it was perfect, add 1 1/2 if you want to stay on the safe side), 1/4 to max 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg, a good pinch of pepper, about a tsp dried basil and 2 tbsp milk.
Lasagna

Stir well, bring to a boil, lower the heat and let the sauce simmer, without a lid, for 30 minutes.
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Those 30 minutes give you plenty time to take it to the next step.

The ricotta was so good in this lasagna! Don’t worry too much about your hips, ricotta is naturally low in fat. Get yourself 2 1/2 to 3 cups.
Lasagna

Lightly beat 2 eggs and add them to the ricotta along with 2/3 cup parmesan (1 cup is fine by me, too) and a good pinch of pepper.
Lasagna

Almost forgot the salt, add 1 tsp. Stir to combine.
Lasagna

I couldn’t buy pregrated mozzarella so just bought 2 large balls and sliced them myself. Make sure you drain it really well or buy the low-moisture version!
Lasagna

Blurry steam shot. After 30 minutes the sauce will have cooked down enough and it’s time to assemble the lasagna.
Lasagna

Lightly oil a large oven dish, this will prevent the lasagna noodles from sticking to the bottom.
Lasagna

Another thing about the lasagna noodles. I don’t cook mine first. Completely superfluous action, they’ll cook in the oven. Check your package to see if yours need to be cooked first.

Arrange the noodles in an overlapping layer. Somehow they never fit and I always end up with something that looks like a jigsaw puzzle. Oh well.
Lasagna

Spread half the ricotta mixture over the noodles and level it.
Lasagna

Top with half the Bolognese sauce.
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Place the sliced mozzarella on top of the meat sauce.
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Repeat this process: noodles, ricotta mix, meat sauce and mozzarella.
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Finish the lasagna with some grated Parmesan and a sprinkling dried basil. Tap the pan to get rid of air bubbles.
Lasagna

Pop in a preheated oven and bake at 350F (175C) for 40 to 45 minutes. Until golden brown and the noodles are properly cooked. If at any point the top should get too brown, cover it with tinfoil.
Lasagna

If this is wrong, I don’t ever want to be right. This lasagna is love, people. Pure, real, unadulterated love.
Lasagna

If you happen to see a perfectly layered lasagna online, you can bet your house it’s faux, fake, artificial. It’s fake food photography and the cheese is in fact mashed potatoes, if you’re lucky that is. Don’t ever think you did something wrong when you can’t achieve that look; it is simply not what a real lasagna looks like.

This is what a real lasagna looks like. All mixed up, totally collapsed but indescribably yummy!
Lasagna

Tyler’s Ultimate Lasagna
Ingredients
    1/2 to 1 package lasagna noodles
    1 pound ground beef
    1 pound ground sausage
    1 medium onion
    2 garlic cloves
    1 reasonably sized carrot
    1 stalk celery
    1/2 red bell pepper
    1/2 cup beef broth
    fresh basil (or 2 tbsp dried basil)
    flat-leaf parsley (or 2 tbsp dried parsley)
    oregano (or 1 tbsp dried oregano)
    pinch dried basil
    2 14oz cans diced tomatoes
    1 6oz can tomato paste
    2 tbsp milk
    1/4 tsp nutmeg
    3 cups ricotta
    2 eggs
    2/3 cup grated Parmesan
    2 large mozzarella balls (roughly one pound)
    parmesan (for topping)
    pepper
    salt
Directions
    Check to see if your noodles should be precooked. I never parboil mine.

    Use your food processor to mince all the vegetables or do it by hand. Blitz a few times, add the fresh herbs and blitz a few more times. Grate the garlic.

    Brown the ground beef and sausage while breaking it up with a spatula until it’s no longer pink. Drain of all the fat. Add the minced vegetables/herbs and cook for a minute or two. Then, add the garlic, beef broth, a good pinch of black pepper, stir well and simmer for 15 minutes. You can replace the beef broth with dry red wine if you like.

    Spoon in the tomato paste and cook for a minute to sweeten it, then pour in the diced tomatoes. Season with salt (I’ve added 2 tsp salt and it was perfect. Add 1 1/2 if you want to stay on the safe side), 1/4 to max 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg, a good pinch of pepper, about a tsp dried basil and 2 tbsp milk. Stir well, bring to a boil, lower the heat and let the sauce simmer, without a lid, for 30 minutes.

    Put 2 1/2 to 3 cups ricotta in a bowl. Lightly beat 2 eggs and add them to the ricotta along with 2/3 cup parmesan (1 cup is fine by me, too), 1 tsp salt and a good pinch of pepper. Stir to combine.

    Slice the mozzarella (or use a shredded version). After 30 minutes the meat sauce will have cooked down enough. Lightly oil an oven dish and arrange the noodles in an overlapping layer. Spread half the ricotta mixture over the noodles and level it. Top with half the bolognese sauce and top that with half the mozzarella.

    Repeat this process: noodles, ricotta mix, meat sauce and mozzarella. Finish the lasagna with some grated Parmesan and a sprinkling dried basil. Tap the pan to get rid of air bubbles. Pop in a preheated oven and bake at 350F (175C) for 40 to 45 minutes. Until golden brown and the noodles are properly cooked. If at any point the top should get too brown, cover it with tinfoil.
Meal type: main course
Servings: 4 to 6
Copyright: © kayotickitchen.com

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    101 Comments »

    1 2 3 5
    1. 1

      This recipe is almost exactly the same as mine! I also use ricotta & cottage cheese. Haven’t made it in ages though, thanks for reminding me – my son loves it :)

      Suz on Oct 25, 2010 @ 8:20 am Reply
    2. 2

      @ Suz:

      Ihave no idea why I never thought of using ricotta for lasagna. It’s perfect for it. So smooth, creamy and pretty low in fat. Cottage cheese stays kinda coarse, this just creates a velvety sauce.

      Kay on Oct 25, 2010 @ 8:23 am Reply
    3. 3

      Ricotta is actually the traditional choice for lasagna. Cottage cheese in lasagna is much less common.  I also have a baked ziti recipe that uses sour cream in place of ricotta, which comes out beautifully. The sour cream is unidentifiable as such when cooked. I tried it because it was different and was shocked at how good it was.
      You are right on with the nutmeg; again, very traditional. All of my Italian friends put a little nutmeg in the ricotta/creamy white cheese part of the recipe — whether it is lasagna, stuffed shells, cannelloni, or similar. As far as I know, none of them use cottage cheese in place of ricotta.  I think they would consider it culinary blasphemy! They also use full-fat ricotta, not part skim.

      Blondie on Oct 25, 2010 @ 8:51 am Reply
    4. 4

      @ Blondie:

      Would you mind sharing the baked ziti recipe? :)

      Kay on Oct 25, 2010 @ 8:54 am Reply
    5. 5

      Of course, Kay! Here it is: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Baked-Ziti-I/Detail.aspx Of course, you don’t have to use store-bought sauce. I sauteed some garlic with the onions, and added a tiny bit of nutmeg to the sour cream. Also, I combined the ziti with the meat/sauce mixture before layering, as I didn’t see the point of leaving the ziti “naked” and possibly getting bites of ziti without enough sauce. It’s been a little while since I made this, but I think I used a little extra sauce too because I like my pasta sauce-y. :-)

      Blondie on Oct 25, 2010 @ 9:06 am Reply
    6. 6

      Also, I always add Romano cheese to recipes that call for Parmesan. Sometimes I add Asiago as well. Basically, I am a cheese-a-holic. I’ll eat almost anything with cheese in it! I could live on good cheese and starchy carbs, which doesn’t help with my efforts at staying slim. Oh, well. Life is too short to worry about such things!

      Blondie on Oct 25, 2010 @ 9:14 am Reply
    7. 7

      OK, this is my last post on this subject, I swear. Check out Pioneer Woman’s Baked Lemon Pasta recipe. It also uses sour cream, which is baked with the pasta (thin spaghetti). This is one of my all-time favorite recipes. I just made it for my visiting family this weekend. Everyone loved it. I make extra sauce (1.5x what the recipe calls for), and add extra extra lemon because I can’t get enough of it. I use freshly grated Locatelli Romano on top with the fresh parsley. So divine!! The first time I made it, my husband and I took one bite, looked at each other and said, “Oh boy, this one’s a keeper!”

      Blondie on Oct 25, 2010 @ 9:22 am Reply
    8. 8

      @ Blondie:

      Definitely gonna try the baked ziti! Thanks for the link.

      Yes, I know Ree’s baked lemon pasta. Originally the recipe was posted here in 2006 or so, I’ve been making it like this for years as well. Only I add cooked and shredded chicken and garlic as well. Sometimes a little fresh basil for an extra kick.

      http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Lemon-Parmesan-Spaghetti/Detail.aspx

      Kay on Oct 25, 2010 @ 10:07 am Reply
    9. 9

      @ Blondie:

      Oh and adding a lightly sauteed onion and a handful of mushrooms to the baked lemon pasta is also really good!

      Kay on Oct 25, 2010 @ 10:16 am Reply
    10. 10

      Oh my God, this looks so delicious! I’ll give it a try this week! I’ll tell you how it went :) Thanks for this yummy recipe, Kay :)

      Christina on Oct 25, 2010 @ 11:38 am Reply
    11. 11

      Love anything by TF and love all the added veggies!

      Liz @ Blog is the New Black on Oct 25, 2010 @ 12:40 pm Reply
    12. 12

      It looks delicious, and yes it looks like my version of Lasagna to lol. My experience with this dish is if you can, DON’t eat it till the next day. For one, it will taste even better, and two it won’t be that soggy and it will have that layered look ;)

      Arrisje on Oct 25, 2010 @ 1:42 pm Reply
    13. 13

      Oh this looks so good Lasagna is my favorite I need to try this recipe! I have never used cottage cheese in my lasagna just ricotta.

      Spruce Hill on Oct 25, 2010 @ 2:24 pm Reply
    14. 14

      @ Arrisje:

      Had some of the leftover for lunch today. So good!

      Kay on Oct 25, 2010 @ 2:36 pm Reply
    15. 15

      oh my!

      Diana Abreu on Oct 25, 2010 @ 2:57 pm Reply
    16. 16

      I will be making that this week.  It looks fabulous!  And you’re right,  watching Tyler Florence cook is almost as fun as trying his recipes.  He’s as yummy as the food.

      Christina H on Oct 25, 2010 @ 4:26 pm Reply
    17. 17

      Well, haven’t even had breakfast yet….but I do know what’s for dinner tonight :)  Thanks for the recipe.

      Sara on Oct 25, 2010 @ 4:49 pm Reply
    18. 18

      Oh my…that IS the ultimate lasagna! I’m going to have to try that one soon!

      Karly on Oct 25, 2010 @ 4:55 pm Reply
    19. 19

      Great recipe!! I love lasagna

      Katrina on Oct 25, 2010 @ 5:02 pm Reply
    20. 20

      This looks delicious! I’ve been looking for a quicker lasagna recipe and this looks like it might be it. Like, I could do this on a weeknight kind of recipe. My favorite lasagna recipe takes 2 days and requires hand-making the pasta and hand-mincing (with a knife!) the meats. It’s worth it, but only about once a year. :)

      Kristen E on Oct 25, 2010 @ 5:03 pm Reply
    21. 21

      This is really the ultimate lasagna recipe, I’ve been making this for years and it’s to die for, as are most of Tyler’s well explained recipes. 
      You should definitely try cinnamon, it’s a traditional ingredient in moussaka as well, it’s not overpowering the ground meat, it just adds a “je ne sais quois”.

      Linda on Oct 25, 2010 @ 5:05 pm Reply
    22. 22

      @ Linda:

      I tried it with cinnamon and cream first! And as much as I love the cinnamon flavor in Moussaka, it just tasted really off in lasagna. Wasn’t for me!

      Kay on Oct 25, 2010 @ 5:10 pm Reply
    23. 23

      @ Kristen E :

      I so know what you mean. Which is probably the reason I don’t make a rijsttafel that often.

      Kay on Oct 25, 2010 @ 5:20 pm Reply
    24. 24

      I always used ricotta in my lasagnas — just seemed more authentic than cottage cheese ;-)  Also – the cottage cheese did peek out here and there – and my scream-like-a-girl male folk could always detect it.  Ha ha.
      BUT- this lasagna is my new recipe.  I had been using one from PW’s for the last few years (which does use cottage cheese).  I love how you simplify things – and also make things more weight friendly without compromising taste.  I detest (personal opinion) cinnamon added to meat dishes…it was favored in some chili recipes over the years and I disliked it.
      Thanks for sharing this!!

      elizabee on Oct 25, 2010 @ 5:31 pm Reply
    25. 25

      wow dat ziet er echt lekker uit!!

      Milou on Oct 25, 2010 @ 5:41 pm Reply
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