Let me tell you something, lasagna used to be my go to dish, boy! Sure, I’d check out all the fanciful menu items across the page at any and every Italian restaurant that I happened to be dining in, but in the end there would always be a lasagna order on my bill. And why wouldn’t it be so? This thing contains cheese, sauce, thick as hell noodles, cheese and cheese!
The dish has simply always spoken to me. Excessive sauce with excessive cheese is such a palate turn on for me that it just never made sense to risk the meal on something untested. Then, I began to realize that all lasagnas are not created equal. For me a lasagna requires practically equal parts excessive sauce and cheese. There are too many restaurants that offer a version with too much sauce and not enough cheese, or the counter to that proportioning. Too little of both, of course, means that the restaurant is just way too proud of their homemade noodles.
It seems sometimes that there are more variations of lasagna then there are variations of pizza. There’s lasagna with spinach, sausage, “veggies,” zucchini, the list really can run through the whole of the produce and meat departments of your neighborhood grocery store. You can whip up as many recipes as you care to try, but I don’t mind telling you that there’s really only one way to make a really excellent lasagna, and it starts with the back of the pack of noodles you bought. It’s really all you need. You need to also include a little too much garlic, quite a bit much sauce, and way too much cheese. Sure, the actual lasagna noodles are necessary to have in there, and you’ve got to layer the ingredients, but it’s just not a hard thing to make. It really isn’t.
Italian folk will talk up the necessity of homemade sauces, but I’m going to tell you that jar sauce is just fine in a lasagna. Sometimes jar varieties require more garlic, and sometimes they require some salt. I’ve even run across a few jars that require a bit of sugar, but with so much noodle and cheese action happening, I think it would just be a waste to spend hours making a fresh sauce. Save those traditions for spaghetti night.
See you Monday for National Cheese Cake Day.