This is a new, semi-regular cooking column by Jean Grae.
In conjunction with the release of my video for "underneathu" from my album #5, I thought I should make something with layers.
The song has layers, the video has a crap ton of layers and also it's "get you laid" music.
So, I think to myself, "Self, what food has layers and feels like getting laid?"
Cake? No. Fuck cake.
Biscuits? Biscuits are pretty fucking great.
Not good enough though. What coul—
LASAGNA. Oh. MEAT LASAGNA. CLASSIC LASAGNA.
It's meat. It's cheese. It's PASTA.
It can have complexity and comfort.
I also should not be eating it. Whatever. Sounds perfect!
Also, lasagna done right is always motherfucking impressive.
Okay, first off, you're gonna need some wine. For drinking. Also for pouring into the delicious meat, for simmering time.
Red, not white. I'm drinking Syrah.
Pour wine, light a candle. Put that candle in your prep area. You should be listening to #5.
I will give you measurements today. I don't normally do this. YOU'RE WELCOME.
It's a LOT of ingredients but it's all wonderfully great.
The wine. For you. To drink. Probably the bottle. Save ½ a glass to cook with, you lush. Jeez.
Meat. I like to do a combo of beef, pork, veal. A lot of times, you can't find veal just laying around in your neighborhood supermarket, coughs (Bushwick) so, don't fret if you don't. You can use Italian sausage. Yum.
½ lb of each. Yeah, Let's make a big ass lasagna. Might want to invite friends.
A yellow onion. Nice sized one. Dice it.
1 green bell pepper. Dice that thing.
A bunch of fresh spinach. Or a pack. Whatevs. Oh, yes, my friends.
3 cloves of garlic. I love garlic. Dice game.
1 handful of fresh basil. Chop that up small.
1 handful of fresh parsley. Chop that up small too.
1 tablespoon (each) dried oregano and thyme.
1 teaspoon Kosher salt (but maybe not. You decide. About the amount.)
½ teaspoon of fennel seeds
1 tablespoon of brown sugar. Or me. HAHA! Just kidding. Please use sugar.
½ teaspoon black pepper.
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon of olive oil.
12 ounces of tomato paste
*IF YOU ARE A GANGSTER, DO THIS:
10-12 plum tomatoes.
Here's the sexy part. You're gonna roast those tomatoes real slow with a little bit of olive oil. YES. It adds extra time to this, but you can also do it ahead of time.
*IF YOU ARE NOT A GANGSTER, DO THIS:
1 Large can of San Marzano tomatoes
3-4 Cups of Whole Milk Ricotta. Yup. I said whole milk. Aww, yeah.
18 ounces of Mozzarella cheese
1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
16-18 (whatever you want) NO BOIL FLAT LASAGNA NOODLES, because you need to spend time drinking.
Okay. Here we go. You should just have my album on loop, cause it's short, but really good to dance to in the kitchen.
Drink more wine.
Text someone something clever.
Let's get the cheese going.
Ricotta, half a handful of basil, half handful of parsley.
Eggs, half a cup of Parmesan. If you think you're cute, maybe a little more oregano and thyme. Not a LOT. Don't be weird.
Mix that. Put it in the fridge. Cover it if you want, I guess.
Large pot, medium heat. Chuck in the olive oil and the onions.
Sing to them until they get nice and sexy and soft. Rarr.
In goes the meat, pepper, garlic, oregano, thyme, salt, pepper, fennel seeds.
Get that browned up nicely. Stir it.
Now, in goes the tomato paste, either your super gangster, roasted, peeled, crushed plum tomatoes
Your delicious San Marzano tomatoes (crush em in there)
Sugar, half a cup of wine, Worcestershire sauce, half a handful of parsley, half a handful of basil.
You know what… maybe some water. Ehhhh ¼ cup? I don't know.
Check it out and decide.
Turn the heat down. Let it simmer for around an hour. Or longer.
I like to go long. Heh.
Randomly come back and stir. Add water if you need to.
Make sure that when you stir, you go, "MMmmmm" and fan the smell into your face.
Oh! You should also preheat your oven. 375. Word.
Big ass baking dish. You. Rub some olive oil on that.
Okay. Meat sauce. Get it. Spread a thin layer into it.
Noodles. Get those. Layer that on that.
Delicious cheese mixture, get that out of the fridge. Spread that on that.
Mozzarella! Sprinkle that on that!
Spinach leaves. Put them on that.
Meat sauce. Layers, boo. Spread it.
Parmesan. Do it.
Back to noodles.
Repeat that until it's the top of the pan, don't build a tower.
Also, you want to leave room, because you're going to cover it in foil first and you don't want to lose that precious cheese.
You should be at noodles at the end. Put some sauce on that.
Put Mozzarella on that.
Fuck. Put more Parmesan.
Foil your new boo.
Put it in the oven for 25 minutes.
Go watch my new video for "underneathu" on youtube.
Take that foil off.
Put it back in the oven for 25 minutes.
Check on your boo. Make sure it's at maximum cheese bubbling perfection.
Remove your lasagna boo.
Let it hang out for 10-15 minutes before you cut it.
WIN THE WORLD. ONE DELICIOUS LAYER AT A TIME.
Jean Grae does everything like a gangster. You can google her to find out and follow her on the internet and in real life.
Image via Li Tsin Soon/Flickr