Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Fucking Lasagna

Be The CheeseBruce Springsteen tells the story of how his father never called Bruce's guitar the "Gibson guitar" or the "six-string guitar". It was always "the goddamn guitar."


I'm starting to think that I should use similar nomenclature with my famed lasagna recipe. (My secret is more sauce than any reasonable human being would use. So much that there really isn't much difference between corner pieces and center pieces, except on a philosophical level.)


The problem is that after making The Fucking Lasagnas, as they shall henceforth be known, I need about 6 hours on a fainting couch. Which I'm never gonna get because people are coming over to eat lasagna. And yes, that was lasagnaS. Plural. I can't remember the last time I made only one lasagna. It's gotta be two - one cheese and one meat, for the benefit of our friendly neighborhood vegetarians.*


*Mainly, this is my cousin/godson who insists on calling my lasagna "Dave's lasagna" in honor of my brother, with whom I co-developed this recipe. Dave doesn't even make lasagna this way anymore and in fact, the last time we discussed it, Dave was firmly in the pro-baked ziti camp, as it is much easier to assemble. (I agree, but I have fans to please.) When I object, said godson calls it "Jen's Dave's Lasagna". I threatened not to let him have any if he kept doing that, but he knows how hollow that threat is. The things we tolerate for love.


Anyway, so making lasagna means boiling noodles (because I'm just agin' no-boil noodles), making sauce from scratch, shredding mozzarella by hand (because I'm not paying extra for pre-shredded cheese), cooking ground turkey in a skillet, then assembling two lasagnas side by side to assure equal sauce and cheese distribution.


Not only is this tiring, but there are a lot of ways where this can go horribly awry. I'm not even talking about the minor burns on my fingertips I get from touching the noodles because I refuse to rinse them in cold water, because that would wash away the starch, and then the only thing holding the sauce to the noodles would be gravity and good intentions.


So here's what went wrong with last weekend's batch:


First, the noodles we got from Fresh Direct didn't include boiling instructions. Fuckers. You shouldn't be allowed to put pictures of peasants on the package if you're going to start with that no boil nonsense. The instructions were either bake for x minutes, or boil for 4 minutes and then bake for an additional 20 minutes in the pan. Sigh.


So I started boiling the noodles we already had, then with 4 minutes to spare, I stopped shredding cheese and tossed in the other noodles. Which, having cooked for only 4 minutes, and having been tossed in several at a time instead of one at a time, emerged in several large blocks. Which His Awesomeness had to pry apart under the faucet because by this point, I was a nervous wreck because...


when I looked for the ground turkey, it wasn't in the fridge. It was in a tote bag under several bags of chips. Fortunately for everyone, HA went back to the store to buy more because if I'd gone, I would've strangled the bag boy who'd placed them there the PREVIOUS DAY. You see, I handed the bag guy, man, whatever my tote bags and he started putting my groceries in one of them. Then walked away to answer the phone. With the bag in his hand. Which is how I ended up putting everything but the chips into the bag he'd left behind, oblivious to perishable item he'd packed and walked away with.


Sigh.


Oh, and before all this, I discovered that the fresh garlic we'd bought at the food co-op was from a mutant strain. It contained dozens of wee tiny mini-cloves. I finally had to give up trying to peel them the normal way and just crushed them and removed the skins from the remains. I've never seen a clove of garlic like that before and probably never will again. It's like the entire universe conspires to drive me crazy at lasagna time.


I always give myself 2 hours to assemble the lasagnas. Pardon me, the fucking lasagnas. As I'm about to start, I never fail to think that it can't possibly take me two whole hours to assemble two lasagnas. It's my speciality. How hard can it be? And then it takes two hours.


Not including recovery time.

4 comments:

  1. Damn straight you need to boil those damn noodles! Pro boilers UNITE!

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  2. You should write a complete cookbook, it would be hilarious. I love your comedic voice, it really brought your story to life.

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  3. Hahaha, you are hysterical. Good grief, you are NOT kidding about lasagna labor. For something that looks so simple, it takes such a long time and a lot of coordinated cook times, and a lot of washed dishes to end up with one tray of ooey gooey deliciousness. And I LOVE saucy lasagna!

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  4. Anything with more than one sauce in it really does take up the minutes. Especially those with white or cheese sauces. I am often under some false illusion that a fish pie will be a nice, quick dish to make and then I am naming it similarly to you because it takes so long! I bet your lasagne is the tastiest around because of the amount of effort involved :)

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