Lasagne. Potentially so much more than a vehicle for bolognese and cheese. I think it should be more regarded as a kind of baked pasta based dagwood opening up many opportunities for different fillings. This one was bechamel with parsley; tomato with majoram and basil; eggplant and mushrooms panfried in olive oil; spinach with ricotta and pine nuts; and then bechamel, parmesan and a few dabs of butter on top. Not a bit of meat to be seen. The lasagne sheets came ready to go in a plastic container. Bechamel is the only thing that takes a bit of care but I really can’t imagine lasagne with out it. Any thoughts on alternatives? Very nice and there was two or more days worth of food there which got better with each passing moment.

Back at Jackson’s hanging around and doing stuff again. Lovely to see everybody and my world has been rocked by the replacement of fennel salad on the menu by a peeled tomato and basil salad. Funny night, must have been international day of no seafood and gluten intolerance.



  1. Ed Charles’s avatar

    Nice Lasange pic. I’ve been trying to wrte some blog posts on it for ages. But whenever i shoot a single portion on a plate it ends up looking like a cow pat. maybe I should write a treatise on ugly, or should I say normal hearty food, vs the beuatiful, expensive cosmetically enhanced.

  2. Anthony’s avatar

    To be tall, a short man must surround himself with shorter men. Perhaps you could take a pic with actual cow pats.

  3. Matt’s avatar

    There’s a great lasagne recipe in the Gordon Ramsey book i’m reading at the moment… Basically sheets of fresh pasta grilled seperately (like cheese on toast) with a creme fraiche/parmesan/egg yolk mixture on top. Then layered in between slices of beef fillet and cherry tomato confit…

    If i can get past the dessert section i may just make it one day… definitely a new way of doing it. I’ll find a way to botch it no doubt.

  4. MM’s avatar

    Wow, I thought I was the only weirdo who thinks of Dagwood when I look at lasagne. And how strange. I was thinking of lasagne as I made my pseudo Sabzi Polow tonight (causing me to do a layered rice dish in the end) and then I see your post on lasagna. Then I saw Chubby Hubby’s post about spinach tonight just as I made a side dish of sauted spinach for dinner – a last minute inspiration. Goes to show. Cosmic food waves.

  5. Ed Charles’s avatar

    When I was much younger I did some cowpat styling with chocolate. But to stay on the Lasagne subject, I had two great but very different variations. At Cafe Di Statsio they do a minimilist one which is literally just silken sheets of pasta with a small amount of tomato sauce< I think< a little more. At Ciccilina they do one with mushroom and balsamic vinegar. Both are equally as good as a traditional recipe and I caouldn't really decide which is best.

  6. Anthony’s avatar

    Gordon may be a complete wanker but he sure knows how to do food. Sounds just great. Gaw’n give it a go then.

    Sazbi Polow sounds like an East European sports car. Going wide in the corner, chucking it down a gear as I pointed the Sazbi Polow at the apex and then off into the next corner, the engine singing like Nina Hagen.
    There is much spookiness in the internet. I should introduce you to Rupert Sheldrake

    I’d have both and skip dessert.
    (and I’m glad you weren’t making chocolates out of cowpats BYW)

  7. Sue’s avatar

    Yum lasagne. As simple or as complicated as you desire. Personally I pretend to dislike the bechamel but secretly adore it.

    So if you make the sheets yourself, do you cook it? I never cook the dry ones, the fresh ones either.

    And coz I’m watching Lethal Weapon, what are egg rolls?

  8. David’s avatar

    You know, I haven’t had a good simpel lasagne in over a year now. The picture literally had my mouth watering!

  9. Gaby’s avatar

    I’m a bit fan of bechamel sauce but if you’re looking for an alternative you go for the sometimes-moussaka topping of ricotta, beaten egg, milk, optional flour and topped with grated cheese. It’s definitely not moist as bechamel sauce so you need to have a wet sauce to go between the pasta to compensate. I’ve used it on top of a roast pumpkin and tomato lasagne and instead of a final layer of cheese on top I just used pinenuts. Very yum.

  10. Anthony’s avatar

    It’s crude and very seventies but yeah the bechamel is great stuff.

    I think you’re supposed to cook the dry ones, but whatever works.

    Egg rolls are spring rolls (yeah yeah I don’t, they’re called spring rolls in Japanese tpp but in you know Japanese)

    Not a lot of Italian Restaurants in Korea?

    That sounds just tremendous and thanks for the moussaka tip.

  11. Gracianne’s avatar

    Lovely lasagne. I still remember the first one I had when traveling in Italy, in a little restaurant in Siena. My friend and I were 16 and it was our first real restaurant – we couldn’t afford much – and our first bottle of chianti…
    I can’t imagine them without bechamel, you can’t really make light lasagna anyway.

  12. Sue’s avatar

    True gracianne. My husband makes lasagne each winter. He uses bacon, mince, red wine, bechamel sauce ala traditionale, mushrooms and tomatoes and about 1kg of mozarella. It kills you. But geez its good. I can only do 1 a winter.

    We made a chinese lasagne once – BBQ pork, soy sauce thingy, green veggies and rice noodles for sheets. It was great.

  13. Richard Leader’s avatar

    Personally, I don’t see the problem with bechamel – I think there was a time when every sauce had a roux base, making for some pretty stodgy eating – but a good bechamel in the context of a lasagne is great. In fact, I can’t imagine a lasagne without it.

    I think one of the problems people have with a basic white sauce like this is in not properly cooking the flour – half-cooked bechamel is grim.

  14. Anthony’s avatar

    Hi Gracianne
    I’m afraid to say my first lasagne may have been in a foil container with a cardboard lid, much like my first wine experience.

    Hey Sue
    A kilogram of cheesy bad/goodness!
    Like the chinese idea.

    Hi Richard
    There’s a time and a place for everything but flour is very filling (no bad thing but it’s not the most exciting thing to be filled up with). It seemed white sauce was pretty much the Home Ec standard, I wonder if it’s changed.

    Ew half cooked bechamel.

  15. David’s avatar

    I did order a lasange once at a very good Italian place in Andong. However when they served it to me they had used layers of spaghetti rather then sheets of pasta. It just didn’t taste the same.

    They also use mozzarella so it felt more like a spaghetti pizza.

  16. Alison’s avatar

    Hey, I’m new but I make a great lasagne – the traditional kind with the meat and tomatoes and bechamel. However, I also made one up once which I was asked to repeat many times by my ex-husband (who did enjoy my cooking if not my company!). It was basically some sauteed spanish onions and spinach, fetta and ricotta and a touch of nutmeg all mixed together, between lasagne sheets with a rich tomato sauce in alternate layers. Topped with more tomato sauce and some mozzarella. Sounds kinda gross but tastes yum … but I still prefer the old-fashioned one.

    If you’re talking lasagne, how about a post on cannelloni. Can anybody fill those dried cannelloni shells without breaking half the packet? I just use lasagne sheets, cut in half and rolled up around the filling. Yummo.

  17. Anthony’s avatar

    Think of it as three meals in one, the spasazza or something.

    Hi Alison
    Welcome especially if you make a nice lasagne. I like the range of three white cheesed. Sounds lovely. Dunno why the ex left, what a billy.

    I’ve never done Canneloni but maybe I should. I guess if you can roll thejm then you can make fresh pasta for it rather than dried stuff. Cool.

  18. ejm’s avatar

    We’ve always used mozzarella AND bechamel in our lasagne (operating on the principal that if some is good, more must be better)

    Just tried a killer walnut cream sauce found on Ivonne’s blog
    Cream Puffs In Venice. I’m thinking it might be great in lasagne in place of the bechamel. (I’d dispense with tomato sauce though to really let the walnut sauce shine.)

  19. pieman’s avatar

    I tend to make lasagne the trad. way, but with cherry tomatoes and aubergines on the top. I have made succesful lasagne replacing the bechamel with quite a thick broccoli and leek soup – really. It was great.

  20. Anthony’s avatar

    Yeah why mess about, if you’re going to have a lasagne, have a lasagne.

    Walnut cream sauce and quail lasagne. Mwah

    Oh yeah. Was that a look in the fridge exercise of improvisational goodness?

  21. pieman’s avatar

    As ever your wisdom shines through. You don’t miss a trick Mr. spiceblog/manthatcooks/media mogul

  22. Anthony’s avatar

    A half empty stomach and a half full fridge sires a thousand innovations.

    Mogul? You mean those bumpy things in the winter olympics because thats what it’s feeling a bit like at the moment.

  23. pieman’s avatar

    Bumpy ride ehh? You scared?

  24. Anthony’s avatar

    Well to be honest I prefer just to loll around in a knitted jumper with trees on it drinking brandy by the fireplace.

    Oh you meant skiing, no not at all.

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