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January 21, 2009
Limber Up for Lasagna
us limber up. Everybody, bend your mind to the right. Stretch . . .
stretch . . . stretch.
Okay, to the left. Stretch . . . stretch . . . stretch.
Repeat three more times.
done, are we all nice and limbered up? Very well, it is just the thing
that is needed when dealing with one of the most foreboding of foods –
There are good reasons the lasagna has not yet cracked the meat sauce
barrier. That is, you may go into a lot of eateries and ask for, say, a
goat cheese and broccoli pizza. If you did the same thing with a
lasagna, the cook would fall to the ground, sobbing uncontrollably and
tearing at his hair.
reason is simple – a proper lasagna requires that you draw from your
entire brain. Typical food requires only that you draw from the
abstract, artistic side. A lasagna is both an art and a science. You
will need some working familiarity with geometry.
you are not capable of doing this, if your mind is not limber enough,
stop now. This way goes madness. This way goes the chicken alfredo
you are prepared, start with a foundation of a light layer of alfredo
sauce on the bottom of the pan. Over the top of that, lay cooked,
softened lasagna noodles. Lay over the top of this chopped, cooked
chicken and chopped shiitake mushrooms. Spoon over this enough alfredo
sauce to cover the chicken and mushrooms. Cover this with a layer of
fresh spinach leaves.
have just constructed two of the three necessary layers for lasagna.
There were the noodles, there was the stuff that wasn’t cheese. Now you
must attend to cheese.
a raw egg into ricotta cheese, and stir until very smooth and easily
spread. Create a layer on top of the spinach and top that with a hefty
handful of mozzarella cheese.
may now take a breather. This has been a difficult few moments putting
this together. If you did well, if you drew properly from both sides of
your brain, your layers will provide a decent proportion of flavor yet
also have a geometric quality to the way it appears. In this, you are
fortunately aided by the shape of a typical pan.
is the thing. You will now recreate this one master layer, combining the
general layers of noodles, stuff that isn’t cheese and cheese. Each of
these, in turn, is constructed of sub layers. The cheese layer has
ricotta and mozzarella. The stuff that isn’t cheese layer has sub layers
of chicken and mushrooms, alfredo sauce, and fresh spinach leaves; the
noodle layer has sub layers of noodles and, well, nothing else – you
were warned, this way lies madness.
will want to lay down one final layer of noodles and top that with just
one more layer of cheese, with its two resident sub layers.
for about half an hour at 425 degrees. Break out the protractor and
subdivide the lasagna itself into pieces for eating.
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