I know, I know, there’s a recipe floating around the internet that proclaims it’s the “The World’s Best”, unfortunately, that’s not true…but lucky for you, I’m here with the recipe for the ACTUAL World’s Best Lasagna. I must credit Emeril Legasse for giving me the inspiration for this recipe. I saw him prepare a version of this on one of his shows, and it immediately sent the wheels of this beautiful mind turning.
According to Emeril, the ”traditional” lasagna that we’re used to is an American version of the pasta dish…you know the one with the ricotta cheese, eggs, and all that jazz. I don’t know how true this is, considering that his version is a Bolognese style(originating from Bologna, Italy), and I really just think they do lasagna differently in different parts of Italy. But he’s the Italian, so I’m not gonna adamently dispute it…I’m just sayin’ (side-eye).
As anyone who cooks or eats good (grammar is clearly secondary to overall effect around these parts) will tell you, the key to any good pasta dish, is the sauce. This sauce is going to take you about an hour and a half to two hours. If it takes less time than that, it will not be THEEE World’s Best Lasagna, so don’t tell people it’s supposed to be.
There are a lot of ingredients in the sauce, if you’re allergic to something, leave it out…if you don’t eat pork or beef, I’ll try to include alternatives, but you should probably already have some in mind if you fit this group.
Sidebar: Remember how I told you in my “About” section, that I only go through the process of boiling, blanching, and skinning my own tomatoes when it really matters…this is one of those times.
We’ll get to the ingredients in a second, but let’s start with the part that’s really gonna impress some folks:
How to blanche a tomato:
To blanche tomatoes, you immerse them in boiling (or just-boiled) water for a short period (like 20 seconds, short) and then immediately pop them into ice cold water. This stops the tomatoes from cooking any further (you don’t want to cook them, you just want to peel them…they’ll cook in the sauce). Once you take them out of the cold water, that skin will peel right off.
1/2 stick of butter
1/2 pack of bacon (DO NOT subsitute turkey bacon, just leave it out)
1/2 pound of ham, diced (you can subsitutue turkey ham here)
1 pound of ground beef (something fatty, like 70/30, no higher than 80/20…I suppose you could use ground turkey here, but it just doesn’t seem right)
1 pound ground lamb
2 large yellow onions, chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
4 celery stalks, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small can of tomato paste
6 roma tomatoes, peeled and deseeded and chopped (you know how to do this…go on…give it a shot)
Nutmeg (I’ll tell you how much in a bit)
1 cup of red wine (doesn’t really matter what kind…whatever you’re currently drinking will do…oh wait…unless it’s that sweet red or red moscato…don’t do either of those)
2 tablespoons fresh oregano
2 tablespoons fresh sage
2 knorr homestyle beef stock packets (this is what I’m talking about–> goodness )
2 cups of water
Salt, pepper, granulated garlic to taste
Bejamel Sauce (recipe to follow)
1 package of oven ready lasagna noodles (you can use the kind you boil if you want…I’m not that fancy, and frankly, they scare me a bit)
2 cups Parmesan/Romano cheese, shredded
2 cups Mozerella Cheese, shredded
In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Cut up your bacon and ham, and throw them in. Once the bacon is fully cooked, add your beef and lamb. Add your vegetables, once the beef and lamb are cooked through (do NOT drain the fat…you NEED the fat). Remember, garlic is a vegetable, so that should be in there too, but tomatoes are not. Once your onions are tansluscent and your other veggies are softening (about five minutes), add your tomato paste and stir it around really well. Add about three or four dashes of nutmeg, salt, pepper, and granulated garlic.
Next, pour in your wine, stir it up, and let the wine evaporate, that should take about 10 minutes. Now, add in your knorr homstyle stock packets and tomatoes, oregano, and sage. Season with salt, pepper, and granulated garlic to taste, and simmer, stirring regularly, for about 30-45 minutes.
Note: You may not need any water, but add it at your discretion if the sauce becomes to thick. Another option here, is to cover the sauce for a bit and let it create it’s own moisture. I prefer this method, over adding water. Keep in mind that you aren’t making spaghetti sauce, so it can be a little on the thick side.
1 stick of butter
8 tablespoons of flour
4 1/2 cups of milk
salt and nutmeg to taste
Bechamel sauce is super easy to make, it starts of like a traditional roux. Melt your butter over medium high heat. Stirring constantly, gradually pour in your flour and stir until well mixed. You know its all mixed together when it starts to look like loose cookie dough. Once it’s nice and smooth, stirring like your life depends on it, slowly pour in the milk. It will start to go completely haywire for about ten seconds and you’ll think it looks like oatmeal, until you get it mixed well. Keep stirring, as it thickens, add more milk, and keep stirring. Once all of the milk has been added…you guessed it…keep stirring. Once it’s nice and thick, about the consistency of pancake batter you wanna keep stirring and let it cook for another couple of minutes. This will ensure that it doesn’t end up tasting like flour. Remove from the heat, and add your salt and nutmeg…not too much nutmeg…it’s not a pie…it’s pasta.
Now it’s time to bring all of the pieces together. Grease a pan. You wanna use a nice, deep pan, about 9×13. I call mine, my lasagna pan. You should go ahead and invest in one because once you get this right, you’ll be making this little ditty all the time. First, you want sauce, right there on the bottom of the pan. On top of the sauce, lasagna noodles, and then more sauce. On top of THAT layer of sauce, you pour about a third of the bechamel. Smooth it out so it covers the layer completely. Now, sprinkle half of the mozarella in a layer, then half of the parm/rom mix over that…REPEAT! The final layer should be the bechamel and cheese, and here’s a picture of my beautiful lasagna pan and TWBL (you know what it stands for.)
Bake, uncovered for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees, or until the top has browned a bit and it’s all bubbly and delicious looking, like this…
PLEASE let it sit for about thirty minutes before you attempt to cut it. If you try before then, you will end up with lasagna soup. It’ll still be awesome, but no one wants to instagram a picture of lasagna soup. My suggestion is to make this a day before you serve it, because everything will have set, and it’ll slice perfectly, and keep it’s form. P.S. that’s how the pros do it, I refuse to believe their lasagna looks that perfect when sliced, fresh out of the oven…I refuse.
Well folks, there you have it…the REAL World’s Best Lasagna. We’ll let the other people think they have it on lock…couldn’t hurt.