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Old 02-02-2016, 10:53 AM   #1
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World's Best Vegetarian Lasagna

That's a big claim. I created this lasagna after having the best mushroom and black olive pizza I've ever tasted in Italy.
If you decide to make 'substitutions' to my recipe I wouldn't bother making it.

Prep the following ingredients not in any specific order:

1 large sweet onion* The onion should be the ‘sweet variety. It’s got less ‘heat’ than a regular table onion. In the food processor fine chop the onion. Put the chopped onion into a cold water bath for a few minutes. This helps remove the bitter heat and leaves just a nice onion flavour. I do this whenever I’m making any recipe calling for onion. Rinse and drain and pat dry on some PTs. Then gently sauté the onion in a T of olive oil to just soften the onion. Remove from the pan and set aside.

20 medium size mushrooms. Use the ‘slicer’ blade on the food processor to thin slice the mushrooms.
Sauté the mushrooms in 2T olive oil until just soft. You don’t have to fry them until ‘golden brown’. Put them in a bowl and sprinkle on a heaping T of dried oregano. This is the only herb you’ll be using. Set aside .

2 375 ml tins of sliced black olives drained. I use ‘Unico’. Drain the tins but don’t put them together and don’t rinse them. You’ll be using a tin each in different layers.
1 500 gram wedge of Asiago cheese.
It really needs to be Asiago cheese to give it that ‘special something’. Mozza cheese doesn’t have the same flavour hit as Asiago. Into the freezer for 30 minutes then grate it using the grater blade on the food processor. Set aside in the fridge. You can buy pre-grated packages of three types of cheese but they are more expensive.

Spinach:
2 bunches of fresh spinach. Cut off an inch or so of the stems. Carefully wash each leaf to make positive it doesn’t have any dirt on it. Rinse well and pat dry. Set aside.* If you use thawed frozen spinach squeeze out as much water as you can before using it.

Lasagna noodles: I use Catelli noodles but rice noodles and other types of noodles are available.
In a large pot of salted boiling water put each noodle in separately and at different angles so they don’t stick together. Boil them until just cooked through. Drain and cool in cold water to stop them from cooking. Set aside.

Build:
Use olive oil to coat the inside of the glass lasagna pan. The order of the layers isn’t that important.
I put a layer down of three lasagna noodles.
Then a light sprinkle of grated cheese.
Then a layer of sweet onion. This is the only sweet onion layer.
Then a light sprinkle of Asiago cheese.
Then a layer of noodles.
Then a sprinkle of cheese.
Then a layer of the mushroom/oregano* There will be some liquid with the mushrooms. Use it. The noodles will absorb the tasty flavors.
Then a tin of sliced black olives. Then a sprinkle of cheese.
Then a layer of spinach. Use it all.
Then a layer of three noodles.
Then a sprinkle of cheese.
Then a tin of black olives.
And finally sprinkle on whatever Asiago cheese is left. There should be enough to cover the black olives.
You’ll need to press down on the layers to fit them all into the glass dish.
But everything fits.
Pro Tip: At this point use a very sharp knife to cut through the lasagna to make what later will be individual portions. The portions are a lot easier to remove from the pan this way before serving. I use a steel egg turner to remove the portions.
You can make the lasagna the day before serving and keep it covered in the fridge.
When you want to serve put the lasagna into a 275-300 F oven for an hour or so. When you see the sides bubbling remove and serve.
If you use too high a heat the cheese and top layer of noodles will turn hard. Better to heat the lasagna for a longer time using low heat.
Enjoy!

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Old 02-02-2016, 11:57 AM   #2
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World's Best Vegetarian Lasagna

It is a big claim. Everybody knows that I make best vegetarian lasagna in the world. 😀😉


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Old 02-02-2016, 12:18 PM   #3
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I want both of you to freeze some, place it in a container with dry ice, and send me a sample so that I can judge whose is best. I know, I know. You're thinking that this is a big sacrifice of my time. But I'm willing to do it for the sake of everyone on DC. I'd like to recieve the samples on Saturday, so get cooking.

Seeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
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Old 02-02-2016, 12:37 PM   #4
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World's Best Vegetarian Lasagna

I would be willing to sacrifice my time and impeccable taste buds to be a co-judge with Chief. Please be sure to make enough for both of us.
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Old 02-02-2016, 01:10 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Dawgluver View Post
I would be willing to sacrifice my time and impeccable taste buds to be a co-judge with Chief. Please be sure to make enough for both of us.
I'll be very interested to see if anyone follows the recipe and reports back to us.
Last Sunday I made four of these lasagnas, one each for our four adult kids.
Two of them have many years experience in high end hotels. One a head chef, the other head of 'HR' in a world class hotel/restaurant group. Think 'Fairmount'
Both of these kids have eaten the finest foods at their work on a daily bases.
Both of them say my vegetarian lasagna is the best they have ever eaten anywhere.
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Old 02-02-2016, 01:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by puffin3 View Post
I'll be very interested to see if anyone follows the recipe and reports back to us.
Last Sunday I made four of these lasagnas, one each for our four adult kids.
Two of them have many years experience in high end hotels. One a head chef, the other head of 'HR' in a world class hotel/restaurant group. Think 'Fairmount'
Both of these kids have eaten the finest foods at their work on a daily bases.
Both of them say my vegetarian lasagna is the best they have ever eaten anywhere.
That will indeed be interesting Puffin. I don't run a test kitchen myself so it won't be me.
This was a turn off from the start...
Quote:
If you decide to make 'substitutions' to my recipe I wouldn't bother making it.
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Old 02-02-2016, 02:05 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Kayelle View Post
That will indeed be interesting Puffin. I don't run a test kitchen myself so it won't be me.
This was a turn off from the start...
No kidding. Besides, I don't bother making lasagna without Italian sausage
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Old 02-02-2016, 02:08 PM   #8
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That will indeed be interesting Puffin. I don't run a test kitchen myself so it won't be me.
This was a turn off from the start...
So why would you be "turned off" when someone suggests not using substitutes? I'm sorry. I just don't get the point of making a dish based on a recipe and deciding not to follow it.
Please explain your logic.
What specifically would you choose to 'substitute? Using ricotta cheese instead of a hard cheese?
Why do millions of people buy cookbooks every year? "The recipe calls for potatoes but I don't have any so I'll use macaroni instead. I'm sure there won't be any big difference in the final result". Really? "The classic 'BB' recipe calls for beef but I don't like beef so I'll use hot dog wieners instead."
Go ahead.
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Old 02-02-2016, 02:15 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by puffin3 View Post
So why would you be "turned off" when someone suggests not using substitutes? I'm sorry. I just don't get the point of making a dish based on a recipe and deciding not to follow it.
Please explain your logic.
What specifically would you choose to 'substitute? Using ricotta cheese instead of a hard cheese?
Why do millions of people buy cookbooks every year? "The recipe calls for potatoes but I don't have any so I'll use macaroni instead. I'm sure there won't be any big difference in the final result". Really?
People make substitutions all the time. DH and I don't like eggplant, so I make ratatouille without it. And I've made moussakka with zucchini instead. And I don't like Swiss cheese, so I use Havarti instead. I expect I'll enjoy the final result more because there won't be ingredients I don't like or that will be wasted because DH will pick them out and leave them on the plate.

I still buy cookbooks because I like reading them and being inspired by them, but I don't always cook recipes directly from them with no changes. Why? Because I'm a confident cook

ETA: btw, I don't like cooked leaves or black olives, either. Only oil-cured black olives. But I would probably substitute roasted red peppers for the spinach and leave out the olives.
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Old 02-02-2016, 03:25 PM   #10
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I'll be very interested to see if anyone follows the recipe and reports back to us...
It's one thing when Chief puts the "world's best" in his title because I think we all know it's pretty much tongue-in-cheek. On you, it just looks cheeky, but not in an endearing way.

I have cookbooks because I like reading them too, like novels. And like GG and others, I will adjust an ingredient or two if what is in a recipe does not suit our flavor liking. Even my favorite TV chef, Jacques Pepin, is known to state that if you don't like a certain ingredient in his recipe you are free to substitute one that you enjoy. Until you have a TV show I can watch, I'll consider Pepin's suggestion to have more gravitas.

I would not be able to follow your recipe exactly for the following reasons:
1) I do not use paper towels. I find my vintage cotton and linen cloth towels to be better, not to mention the cost and environmental upside to using something reusable. I do make sure they are properly cleansed when I wash them.
2) Although I am not opposed to using a food processor, my hands and a knife can thin-slice mushrooms or most anything else much thinner. It may not be done as quickly, but there is something meditative about hand work in the kitchen.
3) You are perfectly right about mozzarella not tasting like asiago. To me, asiago tastes like it could be the flavor extract of locker room sox. Why would I want to grate our son's old football gear into a food I'll never know.

Three strikes. Not to mention your admonition to make it exactly. As Hall and Oates once sang: ...no can do.

puffin, it's about time you dragged your pompous arse off of your high horse and came down here with us peasants. (Mods, feel free to delete this sentence if you find it's inappropriate. )
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