While the trend of single-subject cookbooks continues, one might still question an entire volume dedicated to the seemingly simple dish, lasagna. Luckily for home cooks, this title isna't just gimmick. Bruscino Sanchez, owner of Sweet Mariaa's bakery in Connecticut and author of multiple Sweet Mariaa's cookbooks, goes beyond sugar and flour in her latest collection. Straightforward, well-organized recipes are divided into easy-to-follow numbered steps (most fewer than 10), guiding even the amateur through a hearty one-dish meal. The "Classic Lasagnas" chapter includes just what it promises with crowd-pleasing selections such as Lasagna Bolognese and Vegetarian Lasagna. While the "New Flavors" chapter showcases creative gems (Asparagus, Goat Cheese, and Lemon Lasagna, and Lobster Lasagna with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce), international flavor-inspired dishes such as Chinese Pork and Scallion Lasagna, and Middle Eastern Lasagna, and a surprising Breakfast Lasagna feel like a bit of a stretch, trying to cover all flavor bases. Short, yet worthy, chapters on "Starters," "Salads and Dressings" and "Desserts" make it possible to create a balanced, three-course meal from this concise and upbeat title. (Sept.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
New Lasagna Cookbook: A Crowd-Pleasing Collection of Recipes from Around the World for the Perfect One-Dish Mealby Maria Bruscino Sanchez
Maria Bruscino Sanchez has a secret: she's just wild about lasagna. She just can't get enough of that hearty deep-dish Italian favorite, stuffed with juicy fillings, sauced to perfection and bubbling over with cheesy goodness. But she also knows she's not alone. In The New Lasagna Cookbook, Maria gives every lasagna lover their heart's desire. She has/i>
Maria Bruscino Sanchez has a secret: she's just wild about lasagna. She just can't get enough of that hearty deep-dish Italian favorite, stuffed with juicy fillings, sauced to perfection and bubbling over with cheesy goodness. But she also knows she's not alone. In The New Lasagna Cookbook, Maria gives every lasagna lover their heart's desire. She has scoured the world for inspiration to create a book brimming with delectable lasagna triumphs from traditional versions to classics with a twist to new-wave, meat and vegetarian varieties. Tempt the taste buds with such crowd-pleasers as Lasagne Quattro Formaggi, Artichoke and Spinach Lasagna, Pulled Pork Barbecue Lasagna, and many others. Completing the book with starters and salads, as well as some delicious desserts, Sanchez provides the tasty blueprint for a meal bursting with flavor for every craving. Her easy-to-follow and engaging style gives beginning cooks an excellent primer on lasagna basics while seasoned kitchen veterans will find themselves joining her on a culinary trip around the world. Perfect for family dinners big and small, as well as the best answer to the perennial question "What should I bring?" The New Lasagna Cookbook is destined to become a well-worn classic on the shelf of home cooks everywhere.
Sanchez, the owner of Sweet Maria's bakery in Waterbury, CT, and the author of Sweet Maria's Italian Desserts and two other baking books, here switches to savory dishes, with 75 recipes for lasagna and variations on the theme, as well as appetizers, salads, and a few desserts. The lasagna recipes are grouped into "classics" and "new flavors," but some of them don't really seem like lasagna: Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Breakfast Lasagna, for example, made with bread instead of noodles, seems more like a strata. Some of the recipe instructions are a bit confusing, and the recipes for starters and salads are fairly ordinary. An optional purchase.
- St. Martin's Press
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- First Edition
- Product dimensions:
- 7.70(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.90(d)
Read an Excerpt
THE NEW LASAGNA COOKBOOK
Delicate and delicious, these noodles are really worth the effort. When making dough for homemade pasta be aware that proportions are approximate. The texture of the dough will vary according to what size eggs you use, how humid the weather is, how you measure the flour, and the type of flour that you are using. It will also make a difference if you use a hand-mixing method, a mixer with a dough hook attachment, or a food processor to mix the dough. My husband, Edgar, likes to mix by hand or use the mixer with a dough hook. (He even rolls the dough with his grandmother's wooden rolling pin instead of using the pasta machine.) I tend to favor the food processor method. I think it yields more consistent dough and is a bit less messy.
Kneading is the key (knead for five minutes). Marcella Hazan says, "Press your thumb deep into the center of the dough. If it comes out clean, without sticky matter, you have enough flour." Also important in making pasta is to let the dough rest at room temperature before rolling it through the machine.
Fresh Egg Pasta
1½ cups Italian 00 flour or all-purpose unbleached flour Pinch of salt 2 eggs 2 tablespoons water 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
MIXING BY HAND
On a lightly floured work surface, mound the flour and salt. Make a well in the center. In a small bowl, mix eggs, water, and olive oil. Pour egg mixture into well. With a fork gradually incorporate the egg mixture into the flour mixture. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, at least 5 minutes. Roll the dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest 15 to 20 minutes before rolling out.
FOOD PROCESSOR METHOD
Combine the flour and salt in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the eggs, water, and olive oil. Pulse a few times to combine ingredients. Remove the dough from the food processor and knead until smooth and elastic, at least 5 minutes, dusting with additional flour if necessary. Roll the dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest at room temperature 15 to 20 minutes.
ROLLING AND CUTTING DOUGH WITH A PASTA MACHINE
Invest in a classic pasta-making machine. Several models are available, some with hand cranks and some with motors. This is the only way to get the pasta noodles delicate and thin. Most pasta machines have settings that range from #1 to #6, with #1 being the widest setting and #6 being the narrowest.
1. After letting the dough rest at room temperature, cut it into three equal pieces.
2. Lightly dust the pasta rollers, and crank each piece of dough through the widest setting twice.
3. Reset the rollers one size narrower. Run the pasta pieces through the rollerstwice on this setting, then cut the pasta pieces in half to make them easier to handle. This will give you six pieces of dough that are approximately 4 × 5 inches.
4. Roll pieces through the next two narrower settings (#3 and #4 settings) twice. Cut each piece of dough in half for easier handling. Run these pieces through the last two narrowest settings (#5 and #6), only one pass each setting.
5. Continue to roll on narrower settings until the desired thinness is reached. Number 5 or #6 produces a nice thin noodle that doesn't tear. You'll know it's thin enough if you can see your fingers through the dough, holding it from underneath. You should have approximately twelve pieces of dough about 3 to 4 inches wide by 10 to 12 inches long. Remember that if you cut the pasta into smaller pieces for easier handling, you will have a different number of pieces. If you are new to pasta making it's really more important that you are comfortable rolling pieces through rollers. They will be pieced together in the lasagna and it won't make a difference if they are not the ideal size.
6. Place the pasta sheets in a single layer on a lightly floured sheet pan. Dust the tops with flour and place a piece of parchment paper over the sheets. Continue to layer pasta sheets and parchment, lightly flouring between each layer. Cover pan tightly with plastic wrap. Use immediately or refrigerate overnight.
MAKES 12 PIECES, ABOUT 3 TO 4 INCHES × 10 TO 12 INCHES ENOUGH FOR A 13 × 9 LASAGNA
How to Cook Pasta for Lasagna
Fresh pasta sheets do not take long to cook. Because they are so thin, a simple dip into boiling water will just about do it. The noodles will also continue to cook in the lasagna.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Place noodles three or four at a time into boiling water for 15 to 20 seconds. Remove pasta from the boiling water and transfer to an ice water bath with a strainer or a pair of tongs. This will immediately halt the cooking. Remove from ice water and drain on absorbent paper.
DRIED PASTA SHEETS:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta al dente, a little less than the manufacturer's directions recommend. The noodles will cook again in the lasagna. Drain on absorbent paper.
NO - BOIL NOODLES:
Last-minute lasagna is now a possibility. The key is having enough moisture and sauce to cook the noodles as the lasagna bakes. Be sure you have a generous amount of sauce if using no-boil noodles straight from the box. Some recipes use a shortcut for the no-boil noodles that my friend and great chef Sally Maraventano taught me. Fill a large bowl with hot tap water. Soak the noodles for 10 to 15 minutes. Drain on absorbent paper. They are now ready to use.
Use a piece of cheesecloth or paper towel to drain and squeeze all the excess water out of thawed spinach. Chopping it finely in a food processor will make the spinach blend more uniformly when mixing the pasta dough. Otherwise, it will look like a speckled herb pasta, not a rich green spinach pasta.
½ cup frozen spinach, thawed, excess liquid squeezed out, and finely chopped in a food processor 1½ cups Italian 00 flour or all- purpose unbleached flour Pinch of salt 2 eggs 1 tablespoon water 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
Follow previous directions for mixing, rolling, and cutting pasta sheets. Mix spinach in with flour.
MAKES 12 PIECES, ABOUT 4 INCHES WIDE × 12 INCHES LONG
Whole Wheat Pasta
This hearty pasta can used in just about any lasagna. I like it with a pungent sauce like Puttanesca (page 56), Spicy Tomato Sauce (page 64), or a flavorful meat ragu.
1½ cups whole wheat flour (medium grade) ¼ cup all-purpose flour Pinch of salt 2 eggs 2 tablespoons water 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
Follow previous directions for mixing, rolling, and cutting pasta sheets.
MAKES 12 PIECES, ABOUT 4 INCHES WIDE × 14 INCHES LONG
Pureed beets add a fantastic color to homemade pasta sheets. This pasta stars in our Beet Lasagna with Creamy Gorgonzola Sauce (page 108), but you can use it simply layered with pecorino and béchamel as well. To roast the beets, wrap washed beets in aluminum foil and bake for 1 to 1½ hours until fork tender. Let cool slightly, then pull off skin. Process in food processor until smooth.
½ cup pureed roasted beets (about 1 medium beet) 2 cups Italian 00 flour or all-purpose unbleached flour Pinch of salt 2 eggs 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
Follow previous directions for mixing, rolling, and cutting pasta sheets. Mix beets in with flour.
MAKES 12 PIECES, ABOUT 3 INCHES WIDE × 12 INCHES LONG
Using crepes instead of noodles is another great way to make lasagna.
Don't worry about trying to fit round crepes in a square pan. Just slightly overlap and layer the lasagna and it will all fit in and set up while it's baking.
These are my mom's manicotti crepes that I also use as a tender lasagna noodle. They can be interchanged with fresh pasta noodles in most recipes. This batch can be easily doubled so you can freeze crepes ahead of time.
3 eggs 1 cup water 1 cup all-purpose flour Pinch of salt
1. In an electric mixer, combine the eggs and water. Mix until well blended. Gradually add the flour and salt. Mix until smooth. Use immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container. (Batter can be made one day in advance.)
2. Heat a 7-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Ladle a scant ½ cup of batter into the heated skillet. Roll pan around so that batter can cover the surface of the pan. Cook the crepe until the bottom is light brown. Carefully use a spatula to turn the crepe over and continue cooking the underside until light brown as well.
3. Use the crepes immediately, or store in refrigerator or freezer. To store, lay crepes on top of parchment paper. Layer crepes with parchment in between. Place in heavy-duty plastic bag.
MAKES 12 CREPES
Whole Wheat Crepes
These tasty crepes add a nice texture and color to your lasagnas. They are delicious in our Autumn Pancetta and Porcini Lasagna (page 83) but can be used in any of the other recipes as well.
3 eggs 1 cup water ½ cup all-purpose flour ½ cup whole wheat flour Pinch of salt
In an electric mixer, combine the eggs and water. Mix until well blended. Gradually add both flours and salt. Mix until smooth. Use immediately or store in refrigerator in an airtight container. (Batter can be made one day in advance.) Cook and store like basic crepes.
MAKES 10 TO 12 CREPES
FILLINGS AND SAUCES
Fillings for lasagna do not need to be cheesy and heavy. Rather, a creamy béchamel or a delicate ricotta-based filling is the perfect way to accompany noodles and a homemade sauce.
Sauce for lasagnas can be a creamy béchamel, a light pomodoro (tomato), or a hearty meat ragu. (A ragu is typically a flavorful meat sauce.)
Basic Ricotta Filling
2 eggs 1 pound ricotta 1 pound mozzarella, cubed ½ cup grated pecorino Romano ½ cup chopped parsley Salt and pepper
In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs until blended. Add ricotta, mozzarella, pecornio, parsley, and salt and pepper. Refrigerate in an airtight container.
MAKES ABOUT 3 CUPS
This classic white sauce is made from butter, flour, and milk. Almost equal parts of these ingredients are used to create this creamy filling for lasagna. It acts as an ingredient binder and adds a delicate balance to many of the flavorful meat ragus used in classic lasagna preparation. The key to success when making béchamel is easy: never let the butter cook until it browns, or the sauce will have a burnt taste. Heating the milk in a separate pan really helps to create a smooth thick sauce. Add the milk slowly, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Below is the master recipe with variations for different amounts depending on the amount of sauce you need. Use unsalted butter for the freshest flavor.
2-Cup Béchamel Sauce 2 cups milk 3 tablespoons unsalted butter 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour Salt and pepper
3-Cup Béchamel Sauce 3 cups milk 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter ¼ cup all-purpose flour Salt and pepper
4-Cup Béchamel Sauce 4 cups milk 5 tablespoons unsalted butter 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour Salt and pepper
10-Cup Béchamel Sauce 10 cups milk 12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) butter ½ cup all-purpose flour Salt and pepper
BÉCHAMEL MASTER RECIPE
1. In a saucepan, heat the milk over low heat just until small bubbles come to the surface. Remove the pan from direct heat, cover, and keep warm.
2. In a separate saucepan over medium heat, melt butter.
3. Whisk the flour into the butter and continue to whisk for 1 minute.
4. Gradually whisk in the warmed milk; bring to a simmer, and whisk frequently until thickened, 4 to 5 minutes for a small batch, 6 to 8 for a larger batch.
5. Remove from the heat. Stir in salt and pepper. To prevent a skin from forming on top of the sauce, either whisk occasionally as the sauce cools or place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the surface of the sauce. Use the béchamel immediately or cool to room temperature. Pour into an airtight container and refrigerate overnight. Reheat sauce, stirring, over low heat before assembling lasagna.
Quick Tomato Sauce
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 2 garlic cloves, minced One 35-ounce can peeled whole tomatoes, crushed by hand, with juice Salt and pepper 3 fresh basil leaves, torn into large pieces
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook until just beginning to brown, 30 to 40 seconds. Add tomatoes and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for about 20 to 25 minutes until thickened. Stir in the basil.
Use immediately or store in an airtight container, refrigerated, 3 to 4 days or frozen for up to 3 weeks. To thaw, refrigerate sauce overnight. Reheat sauce on low until thawed.
MAKES 4 CUPS
Nothing defines summer like fresh bright green basil pesto. This classic recipe uses pine nuts and the finest olive oil. You can make a batch or two with your summer crop and freeze for later use. If you are freezing it, omit the cheese; add it when you thaw the pesto for a fresher taste.
2 cups basil leaves, washed and dried 2 tablespoons pine nuts 2 garlic cloves Salt and pepper ½ cup grated pecorino Romano ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
In a food processor, combine the basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, salt and pepper, and pecorino. Pulse until crushed. Pour olive oil through the top of the food processor in a steady stream and mix until blended. Use immediately or refrigerate overnight in an airtight container. Freeze for l to 2 weeks. Thaw at room temperature.
MAKES 1 CUP
Mom's Sunday Sauce
This is my mom's classic meat sauce. It's loaded with meatballs, pork ribs, brasciole (beef rolls), and flavor. This sauce is a labor of love and makes a generous 14 cups of sauce, so you can freeze some for later use. Here are some tips for getting the best results:
Because this sauce cooks for a long time, use a heavy saucepan to be sure the bottom of the sauce doesn't burn. The pan must be large enough to accommodate all the meat and tomatoes.
Freeze the sauce in an airtight container, portioning a variety of meat in each container. Thaw frozen sauce overnight in the refrigerator.
1½ pounds ground beef (80 percent lean, 20 percent fat) ½ cup fresh bread crumbs 1 egg 2 tablespoons chopped parsley ½ cup grated pecorino Romano Salt and pepper
1. In a medium mixing bowl combine all ingredients. Mix until incorporated.
2. Roll the meat mixture into balls slightly larger than golf balls. Set aside.
MAKES ABOUT 16 MEATBALLS
These garlic- and cheese-stuffed beef rolls add a great flavor to the meat sauce.
¾ pound shoulder steak (chuck), sliced into 4 thin pieces Salt and pepper 4 garlic cloves, minced 2 teaspoons chopped parsley 2 tablespoons grated pecorino Romano
1. Trim any excess fat from edges of meat. Place meat between two pieces of wax paper. Pound each piece of steak until it's about ¼ inch thick.
2. Season each piece of meat with salt and pepper. Rub garlic, parsley, and cheese onto meat.
3. Starting at the short end, roll meat jelly-roll fashion. Tie each roll into a small package, using three pieces of string for each roll. Tie the first piece of string around the middle of the roll and knot it. Then tie and knot one piece of string close to each end so that the seasoning stays inside. Don't fret if some of it comes out. It will flavor the sauce. The tying is to keep the majority of the seasoning inside.
MAKES 4 ROLLS
¼ cup olive oil Meatballs (page 18) Brasciole (page 18) 1 pound sweet Italian sausage 2 pounds country-style pork ribs with bones (about 4 pieces) 1 large onion, diced 2 garlic cloves, minced Three 35-ounce cans peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand Salt and pepper One 6-ounce can tomato paste
1. In a large heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and brown all over, turning gently.
2. Remove meatballs with slotted spoon and set aside.
3. To the same pan, add the brasciole. Brown all over, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
4. To the same pan, add the sausage and brown all over. Remove and set aside. Repeat, browning with ribs. Set aside.
5. To the same pan, add onion. Cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, for about 3 minutes.
6. Add garlic. Cook for 1 minute.
7. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste and bring to a boil. Using a wooden spoon,scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 2½ hours. Season with salt and pepper.
8. Store in an airtight container. Refrigerate 3 to 4 days or freeze 2 to 3 weeks. Thaw in refrigerator overnight, then place over low heat to reheat.
MAKES 14 CUPS
Photos © Scott Goodwin
Meet the Author
MARIA BRUSCINO SANCHEZ is the author of Sweet Maria's Cookie Jar, Sweet Maria's Italian Cookie Tray, Sweet Maria's Cake Kitchen, and Sweet Maria's Italian Desserts. She is the owner and baker at Sweet Maria's in Waterbury, Connecticut.
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >