Monday, February 11, 2008

Lasagne, Lasagna...layers to be dough out.

Contrary to many a believe Italian food did not originate with Tomato sauce, as a matter of fact that addition came much later as the trade routes of the Orient and the America's became viable. Actually pasta was also an invention taken from legendary exotic lands. So without tomatoes and pasta, what was Italian food? Roman cuisine was infamous for being the first true fusion cuisine. But their humble beginnings did not differ much from the middle eastern and other such mediterranean cuisines. The recreation of once lost recipes and investigation of gastronomical tendencies of the past is not a dedicated science or history branch. (YET) Lets call it "Archeogastronomy"

Given the historical importance of a trade, invasion and all such events is rare to see the lack of attention given to the role of food in history.

How about taking a trip in time to find out when, how and were did our lives take a turn for the tasty or for dyspepsia.

Lasangna di tuti

1/8 pound of each of the following cheeses in slices
Mozzarella (Shredded)
Smoked Gouda
Assiago (Shredded)
Parmesan (Shaved)
Romano (Grated)

Sauce 2 cups
Stewed tomatoes
garlic one clove
Tomato paste
Basil (fresh)
2 Cloves (Spice)
1 once club soda
1/4 onion diced
2 ounces olive oil.
6 oz White wine
1/4 lb of ground veal

Saute the onions and garlic until they become transparent (do not brown)
Take dry herbs (Cloves and Oregano) Grind them in a mortar or using the bottom of a cup against a bowl.
Chop Basil finely.
Mix all herbs and grounded veal, saute with the onions
In the skillet pour the tomatoes and the tomato paste
Let simmer with the onions, garlic, veal and oil
add salt to taste ( watch it though the cheeses are salty enough)
as the sauce reduces keep stirring and add wine to taste
to reduce the acidity add bits of the club soda as it reduces.

Boil your pasta sheets in a large pot follow the pasta water instructions.
(bay leaves , olive oil and salt)
take sheets out as they become pliable "AL Dente"note that any more cooking than this will turn them from "" to play dough.

Start with a deep oven mold (about 4 inches deep)
first layer should be pasta
second should be a little sauce and a binder cheese (Suisse, Provolone or Mozzarella)
Follow each layer with enough sauce to taste it not to bathe it and two cheeses usually it works best if it is one sliced and another of the shredded, grated or runny ones
Because Mozzarella and Suisse cheese are glue like when melted they are good binders.
Provolone is less adhesive but it make for a good pasta substitute in thin layers or gaps
Finally the mixer cheeses that grated or shaved make a great salty addition (Parmesan and Manchego)
balance them with some Cottage Cheese mixed in.
Gouda and Assiago make strong flavored layers and are perfect for the last layer they also brown nicely
I save the bay leaves from the pasta water and use them as a tasty garnish covering them with a bit of any cheese specially the ones that broil nicely and broil them at the top of my lasagna to eat the crisp cheese skin right off the leaves that though not edible in their dry state they do transfer a wonderful taste to the broiled cheeses.

bake at 325 degrees for half hour =give or take. broil for the last 2-5 min depending on your oven.
serve and go to town in your own archeological dig, and ponder the question were did this all came from.

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