I just made the world's best lasagna: In which I describe my Saturday evening.

I just made the world’s best lasagna. I mean, it is fan-farking-tastic.

I didn’t mean to. I was going to make a run of the mill “excellent” lasagna. It seemed like a good day for it; it’s raining, there’s no movies out to see, as usual I don’t have any social engagements. All I have tonight is a book to finish (Catch-22), taxes to avoid, and a lot of time to kill. So I go to the Whole Paycheck^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^HFoods market for supplies, and what do I find? They’re having a sale on some rare Virgilio Reggiano cheese and I notice for the first time that they carry Grade A raw milk. Raw milk? That’s an inspiration.

So, now we’ve got the lasagna–becamel sauce with marscapone cheese, tomato-basil sauce, carmelized onions, sauteed crimini mushrooms, zucchini, and Japanese aubergine. It is, if I may say so myself, ambrosia. The only thing that could make it better is a bottle of good sangiovese, a roaring fire, and some Sue Foley strumming in the background.

Guess what I’m drinking, what I’m looking at, and what I’m hearing.

Life ain’t too shabby, right now. T’would be nice to have a li’l Irish girl sitting aside me, but on the whole, I ain’t gonna complain. Nope; I’m just going to make a hot chocolate (with my raw milk) and bury myself in Catch-22.


Wow, Stranger, that sounds delicious.

How can you describe that and not provide a set of instructions?

You are Evil! Evil, I say!

And my secret is to use large curd cottage cheese…Ricotta makes it too dry.

But I have to admit, your mixture sounds intriging.

And this crappy rain, even in Las Vegas, had me reaching for Torteloni and my frozen emergency ground beef pasta sauce the other night instead of going out or ordering in.

Sounds nice - it’s easy to get so used to ‘odinary’ cooking with ‘ordinary’ ingredients that splashing out on the nice stuff is like a smack in the face, it’s just so different.

OK, so you had culinary success; let me tell you about my culinary disaster; I bought a large chicken for Sunday dinner, then on impulse, also bought a duck because they were on offer; on returning home, we all decided the duck was choice and the chicken could go in the freezer. I scalded the duck, salted the skin and put it in to roast, then I parboiled some potatoes and shook them in the pan to roughen the outside, then added some goose fat.
Threw in some parsnips too and set to making ‘proper’ gravy from stock made with the giblets and some leftover cider(that’s a fermented beverage in my language BTW) - all went well.
Toward the end of cooking, the potatoes were looking just perfect, the parsnips were just starting to caramelise, the duck was looking crispy and golden brown, I put some sliced carrots on to simmer, with shredded savoy cabbage in the steamer above.
It all came together perfectly; I let the duck rest for ten minutes, put all the trimmings and gravy on the table, then began to carve the duck. The first two slices off the breast were perfect - moist, tender… then, on cutting the third slice, there was an abrupt and copious flow of bright red, raw juices (not ‘blood’, but very bloody-looking). WTF?!?

So what can you do in that situation? clearly the duck needed more cooking, but everything else was going to spoil if I kept it warm.

Fortunately, I had a loaf of garlic bread on standby, so we had that, with gravy and all the trimmings. I don’t know what went wrong with the duck; it was cooked for the proper time according to both the instructions on the pack and my own intuition; half an hour back in the oven and all was fine and dandy (but of course it was too late then).

Anyway, I made a massive pot of stock and there’s all the cold duck meat now, so tonight is risotto night.

Well, it’s based on the Lasagna Angeli recipe from Pizza Pasta Panini from Angeli Caffe, though I swapped out the spinach for the mushrooms, zucchini, and eggplant, and used marscapone instead of ricotta. A few other changes were made as well, but that’s the basic stuff.

I’d print the recipe, but I’m not clear whether that’s acceptible per the copywrite policy for SDMB. The book is well worth it, though.


The thing to do to ameliorate the dryness and heavyness that ricotta does to lasagna is to make a roux and add milk to create bechamel sauce. Let the bechamel cool and blend in the cheese to a silky smoothness. No nasty lumps of curd; just creamy delight.


I use cottage cheese, too, DMark, rather than ricotta. (Although small curd is fine). Mixed with a couple of eggs.

If the tomato-based sauce in your lasagne is good and robust, adding a little (but only a little) tarragon to the creamy/cheese sauce - it works really well.