Chef John Lasagna

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chef john lasagna
Photo: inspiredtaste

Lasagna is a classic Italian dish that is loved by many. It consists of layers of pasta, cheese, meat sauce, and other ingredients baked together into a delicious casserole. One of the most popular lasagna recipes comes from Chef John, a beloved online cooking personality. Chef John’s lasagna recipe produces a meaty, cheesy, and flavorful lasagna that is a crowd-pleaser.

Chef John’s lasagna starts with a tomato meat sauce. He uses a combination of ground beef, Italian sausage, tomato sauce, tomato paste, onions, garlic, and Italian seasoning to build a rich, savory sauce. Browning the meat and sautéing the aromatics helps develop complex flavors. The sauce simmers for an hour which allows the flavors to meld together.

Assembling the Lasagna

To assemble the lasagna, Chef John layers the meat sauce with lasagna noodles, ricotta cheese mixture, mozzarella cheese, and Parmesan cheese. He recommends using no-boil lasagna noodles which saves time and avoids overcooking the pasta. The ricotta cheese mixture is blended with egg, parsley, garlic powder, and nutmeg. This gives the ricotta layer even more flavor. The mozzarella and Parmesan add salty, savory notes as well as excellent melting properties.

Cooking Techniques

There are a couple of key techniques Chef John uses when cooking his famous lasagna. First, he recommends undercooking the noodles slightly before assembling the lasagna. The noodles will finish cooking in the oven. This prevents them from becoming mushy. Second, he covers the lasagna with foil at the beginning of baking. After 45 minutes, he removes the foil and bakes for an additional 25 minutes. The foil intensifies the heat to ensure the interior layers cook through.

Make Ahead and Freezing Tips

One of the bonuses of lasagna is that it reheats very well and can be prepared in advance. Chef John’s lasagna can be assembled up to 2 days before baking. Simply cover tightly and refrigerate until ready to bake. His recipe also freezes well. Let the lasagna cool completely after baking, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil. It will keep frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat gently before serving.

With its bold flavors, melty cheese, and easy preparation, it’s no wonder Chef John’s lasagna recipe is so well loved. The techniques he uses result in perfectly cooked pasta, a rich meat sauce, and a cohesive, crowd-pleasing casserole. It’s the ultimate comfort food lasagna.

Some frequently asked questions about Chef John’s famous lasagna recipe:

Can I substitute different meats in the sauce?

You can use all beef or all sausage, or even ground turkey instead of the beef/sausage combo. The flavor will be slightly different but still tasty.

What kind of pasta can be used?

Traditional lasagna noodles work best. You can use no-boil or oven-ready noodles for convenience. Don’t use ziti or other short cut pasta shapes.

What if I want to add veggies?

You can add chopped spinach, zucchini or other veggies to the ricotta layer for extra nutrition. Just be sure to drain frozen spinach well first.

Can I make it ahead of time?

Yes, you can assemble the entire lasagna up to 2 days in advance, cover and refrigerate, then bake just before serving.

Can I freeze the lasagna?

Chef John’s lasagna freezes very well. Let it cool completely after baking, wrap tightly and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight before reheating to serve.

In conclusion, Chef John’s lasagna recipe deserves its popularity. With its flavorful meat sauce, creamy cheese layers, and easy prep, it’s the ultimate lasagna to feed a crowd. Using Chef John’s tips on pasta doneness, foil covering, and make-ahead instructions results in perfect lasagna every time.

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