The Manifold Path to Lasagne Enlightenment

It all started with this recipe in 101cookbooks, which I love, but whose hype I had never succumbed to until one day last weekend, when I decided to make Aya a bon voyage lasagne (my girl loves her some lasagne) before her trip to Wiener-ville.

It’s a masochistic lasagne, a fact we learned later in the making of it, and perfect for me, as I tend to believe that pain is what makes pleasure possible, heightens it in the right mindset even. Of course, much of the pain I brought onto myself (and poor Aya, who was assisting me in this endeavor) as I ignored with impunity one critical direction, which I will tell you soon enough.

“This isn’t a lasagne path for the faint-hearted. Making a dish of this magnitude takes commitment and patience – and time. Plenty of it.”

See, it wasn’t just a recipe for lasagne. No, dear readers. This was a lasagne path.

It began with a question: How thin can the pasta be for lasagne? Clearly it has to be sturdy enough to hold the sauce and the cheese, but if you think about it, it’s not really holding anything. The truth is, those thick, bulky slabs we are used to in the archetypal lasagne are that thick to save the ordinary cook his sanity. Sure it’s easier when the pasta’s thicker. Easier to boil, easier to handle, fewer layers to build.

But what if you rolled out each sheet of pasta in a pasta machine, thin as a ribbon, as thin as angel hair before its filamentation? Then each bite would be light and fluffy, giving the sauce a chance to shine against the fat white cheeses. Imagine that! A light lasagne!

(Miss Heidi recommended buying the pasta fresh instead of making it yourself, and I agree. I also now would reiterate her point that it be freshly made, since the older it is, the drier and more crumbly and hard it becomes. Cracks will form and grow into massive fissures that will tear many otherwise beautiful pieces to shreds during the boiling and construction phase.)

My mistake? Ignoring this little hint: “I go to the 8 setting, one shy of the very thinnest setting.” See, my pasta machine doesn’t go to 9. It goes to 6, and, well, 5 sounds a long way from 8, so I decided to do one more pass to make it the thinnest it could possibly be. “The sheets should almost be translucent,” she continues. Translucent, yes…even more reason to put it through at the thinnest setting. Right?

Ooh, translucent (and already tearing)

A lavishly buttered dish and the first layer of sauce

Butter the dish, and ye shall be rewarded.
You can’t make too much sauce.
San Marzano tomatoes. Period.

The scene of a terrible battle, where so many were lost

Cut the strips into manageable rectangles roughly 4-inches in length.”
D’oh. Oh well…

The final creation

Trust me. It’s surprisingly light.

At the intersection of Cheese Grove and Tomato Lane.

Fat cutters
Baby arugula with shave parmesan and red onions, Basalmic and olive oil

Wait, are you blogging this?

Oh. Mygod. It’s, like, so surprisingly light!

3 Responses to “The Manifold Path to Lasagne Enlightenment”

  1. kayoko Says:

    I, for one, definitely experienced lasagne enlightenment– in each exquisite bite of TMonkey’s creation, I reached the heavens.


    The texture was light and airy- it was hard to believe that it was lasagne!!! TMonkey’s right, we’re so used to lasagne traditionally being hearty and heavy- more of a winter dish. But when it’s made with thinner pasta sheets, it completely shifts the dynamics of what we know about lasagne. If this isn’t enlightenment, then what is??

    This is a perfect dish for a summer picnic–I imagine it would be excellent cold as well (personally, I am a cold pasta addict).

    Thank you Aya and TMonkey for guiding me along that divine path with ye.

  2. ayagwa Says:

    I am here in Wiener-ville, and still dreaming of that divine lasagna, nay to call it lasagna is almost a disservice! Another amazing culinary adventure with Tmonkey ❤

  3. ayagwa Says:

    I am here in Wiener-ville, and still dreaming of that divine lasagna, nay to call it lasagna is almost a disservice! Another amazing culinary adventure with Tmonkey ❤

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