I don’t have a love affair with cheese. I use it in cooking sometimes and I love cheese pizza, but up until a few years ago, you would never see me add more than one kind to a dish. I’ve only recently started exploring blending cheeses and using them more frequently, so I figured it’s about time for me to dive in and use all the cheese as I can get my hands on to make this hearty lasagna!
The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, 3rd edition
Boston Common Press (2010)
The first recorded recipe for lasagna come from 14th century Naples, but since tomatoes from the Americas weren’t introduced to Europe until the 16th century, it hardly resembles modern lasagna. Technically, the Italian word “lasagne” refers to a single sheet of the wide, flat pasta, and the delicious food layered with cheese and sauce and baked in the oven is a lasagna casserole.
America’s Test Kitchen is a TV cooking show that has also produced a series of cookbooks, radio shows and a website full of online recipes. Full disclaimer: I have never seen an episode of the show, I just have the book. The third edition of the Family Cookbook boasts over a thousand “foolproof” recipes, and includes a guide to buying and caring for quality kitchen equipment.
Modifications, Testing and Recommendations: This recipe comes with instructions how to make your own tomato sauce from scratch, which is fairly quick and easy, but you can save time by using a jar from the store. Add a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar into the sauce when you add the tomatoes. You can make the sauce a day or two ahead of time and store in the fridge before assembling the lasagna.
The recipe also calls for frozen cubes of spinach, but after some disappointing frozen Brussels sprouts earlier this year I decided to just improvise with fresh spinach instead. Use a whisk to blend the ricotta mixture so it’s fluffy. The recipe calls for 4 layers of noodles, ricotta et al. but I could only fit 3 in the glass dish; the lasagna didn’t reduce down too much in the oven, so I don’t think 4 layers would have fit until the tinfoil.
“There’s a million fine looking women in the world, dude. But they don’t all bring you lasagna at work.” – Silent Bob, Clerks