Ass Lickin' Good Lasagna

Poland meets Italy in this new take on lasagna.

Ass Lickin' Good Lasagna

What you put into a lasagna to give it some character, is up to you. Some only eat classic lasagna, others like variations. Brazilians, for example, put regular slices of ham and cheese between the layers. There are thousands and thousands of lasagna recipes out there. Most are pretty much the same, standard tomato sauce, standard bechamel sauce, traditional minced meat, and store-bought lasagna pasta plates. Then there are the high-end recipes with fantastic ragù and pasta plates made from scratch. Then there are the ones changing something and pissing off people. I wanted to make a high-end version that both changes something and pisses off people. Oh, and one last thing… Some shitty restaurants will serve you a dish they call lasagna that is just a melted pile of pasta, meat, and cheese. Lasagna is like a layered "cake" and should stand on its own. If it's a pile of ingredients, and looks like just a pasta dish flat on your plate, the purpose has kind of been lost in the process.

Recipe video in Italian for the sake of authenticity

The pasta

  • 400 grams of durum wheat flour
  • 4 eggs
  • Mix eggs and flour using your hands or a stand mixer until thoroughly combined. It's quite a dry ball. Don't add water!
  1. Knead the dough, so it's a uniform ball. It doesn't have to be kneaded very much. The gluten will develop by itself over time.
  2. Put it in a plastic bag and let it rest for at least 2 hours.
  3. Now divide the ball into five-six equally big balls (depends on how big your deep tray is, so maybe start with five balls)
  4. Sprinkle some durum flour on your work surface
  5. Because you're doing the pasta from scratch, don't limit yourself to small plates like the ones you buy. Roll a dough ball thin, until you can see your hands through it when looking towards the light.
  6. Place your tray over it and cut the rolled dough sheet into a square/rectangle that perfectly matches your tray. If your tray is narrower at the bottom than at the top, then make half of the sheets using the bottom of the tray as a stencil, and then use the top of the tray as a stencil for the other half. That way, you'll have sheets that are bigger the further up the lasagna layers you get.
  7. Ok, set the sheets aside and let them dry out a little. It will give them a better texture in the finished product.
  8. Set aside.
Pasta ball. It's quite dry, eggs being the only liquid. Perfect for pasta.

The meat part 1

  • 2 large onions or 3 medium ones (about 400 grams of onions total)
  • 2 star anise
  • 50 grams of lard (about a spoonful)
  • 1 dl of olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 5 garlic stems (you'll often find them in Asian food stores)
  1. Finely dice garlic, onion and cut the garlic stems into small pieces.
  2. In a pan, melt lard with olive oil.
  3. Fry everything, including the star anise, on medium-low until soft.
  4. Cover and turn down the heat to low. Now let it be there for at least an hour.
  5. Remove the star anise.
  6. Set aside.

The tomato sauce

  • 1 kg of canned tomato pulp (you can use other kinds of canned tomatoes, but I really prefer pulp for my lasagna. Gives it a perfect texture)
  • 1/2  dl of tomato paste
  • 3 cloves of garlic (Just three?! Well… "The more garlic the better" is uttered often, but in this case, there's a lot of garlic in other parts of the recipe, so trust me on this)
  • 1 medium onion or two small ones (about 180 grams of onions total)
  • 3 grams of garlic powder (yup, it gives a toasted flavor to complement the fresh garlic)
  • 5 grams of dried oregano
  • 5 grams of dried basil (yes, dried, for this you need the dried kind)
  • 200 milliliters of 100% carrot juice. Either juice it yourself or buy it.
  • 1 dl of olive oil
  • Pinch of salt
  1. Cut onions and garlic into small pieces.
  2. Heat up olive oil in a saucepan on medium heat
  3. Fry spices until the smell is fantastic, but before it's burned.
  4. Add the onions and garlic, and the tomato paste
  5. Fry some more until the tomato paste gets some color, we want the fried flavor here.
  6. Now add the tomato pulp and carrot juice
  7. Simmer on medium-low heat until about 1/3 of the liquid is gone, and it's a thick and excellent sauce. Add a little pinch of salt, and you're done.
  8. Set aside.

Bechamel sauce

  • 200 grams of butter
  • 70 grams of flour
  • 700 grams of milk
  • Pinch of salt and a bit of black pepper
  1. Slowly melt butter in a saucepan, you don't want it to separate, so keep the heat very low.
  2. Take it off the heat and mix in the flour. It's ok if it dries up.
  3. Add just a little milk and whisk it until there are no lumps. It's like a thick paste now.
  4. Add the rest of the mil and whisk until it's just like milk.
  5. Raise the heat to medium, and whisk like there's no tomorrow. Well, at least don't leave it. It will be all liquid until it isn't, and if you're not careful, you'll end up with lumps.
  6. When it thickens up, you're done. Some would add nutmeg now, but I won't. Already a lot of different flavors in this recipe, so let's not overwhelm the taste buds.
  7. Set aside.
Polish sausage, dried and smoked
Meat frying on high heat, sauce almost done, everything going according to plan in pissing off Italians

The meat part 2

  • You need the excellent anise flavored garlic and onion mix from Part 1
  • 500 grams of minced beef (low-fat content, we have a lot of fat already, don't worry)
  • 250 grams of Kielbasa Myśliwska, a type of Polish sausage. It's made from pork, salt, pepper, and juniper, and is smoked and dried.
  • 100 grams of lard (about two tablespoons)
  • Salt and pepper (just a little of both, the sausage is already salty)
  1. In a cast-iron pan, fry half of the minced meat in half of the lard, on very high heat. Like, very, very high (just be careful so you don't burn down your house). If the meat releases its juices and starts boiling in them, your heat was set too low.
  2. When the meat is all done and is nicely browned or even slightly charred here and there, transfer it to the onion mix.
  3. Repeat 1 and 2.
  4. Dice the Polish sausages and fry them on medium heat without adding any fat. When they've released some of their own fat, and gotten a little shiny and darken a little, move them to the onion mix pan.
  5. Combine it all. Add some salt and pepper.
  6. Set aside.
Lasagna before going into the oven

The final assemble

  • Pasta plates
  • Meat mix
  • Bechamel sauce
  • Tomato sauce
  • 3 balls of buffalo mozzarella (one ball, drained, is about 125 g)
  • 125 grams of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (preferably aged 24 months)
  • A drizzle of good olive oil
  • Set the oven to 220 C.
  1. Start with the bechamel sauce in the bottom and add a pasta plate. If you made the plates in different sizes because the bottom of the pan is smaller than the top, then put a small plate here. You get it.
  2. Some white sauce, meat mix, tomato sauce, new plate (in that order).
  3. Repeat one more time. But wait, where's the cheese? Here's the thing… Lasagna should be firm and tasty and amazing. Just adding cheese on every layer makes it messy. I prefer saving the cheese for the top 3 layers (including the very top). So…
  4. … Now repeat step 2 but also tear 1 mozzarella ball into smaller pieces and distribute them on the layer.
  5. Now repeat steps 2 and 4 one more time, and you're on the top  (this is an infinite loop, a philosophical paradox as 4 also refers to 2, but anyway…)
  6. On the very top, add the rest of the tomato sauce and bechamel sauce, and kind of spread both of them in a thin layer so they mix. Tear the last mozzarella ball into pieces on the very top.
  7. Spinkle with Parmigiano cheese.
  8. Drizzle with olive oil.
  9. Into the oven. The pasta is fresh, it will be done quickly. So when you see that the cheese has melted and has dark spots all over it, almost black, your lasagna is done.
  10. Let it cool for 20 minutes so it firms up.
  11. Cut and serve. This… Is… Amazing, I don't care what the Italians say.
Look at those layers and the structural integrity of the lasagna