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Thousand Layer Lasagna - Tips?

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One of my best friends loves lasagna and his birthday is tomorrow, so I thought I'd make him some. But not just any lasagna, something spectacular. So I found this one and am going to attempt it.

http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/...

My questions:

1. I'm planning on using egg roll wrappers and possible rolling a little bit thinner - anyone have any experience substituting them for fresh lasagna noodles?

2. Thoughts on adding spinach and sausage? I like smitten kitchen's addition of spinach, but am trying to figure out how to add a little sausage without making the layers too thick.

http://smittenkitchen.com/2007/01/bak...

3. Any other tips would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.

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  1. I don't have any experience with the egg roll wrappers, sorry can't help you there.

    I add sausage two ways, either way will work. I first remove the cooked sausage from the casing. And I also use the spicy Italian sausage, for me, a little goes a long way.

    I either add a little sauce to the sausage and put it in the middle layer of the lasagna, or I toss the loose sausage meat into the sauce that I am going to use in my lasagna.
    The second way, you wouldn't notice any extra thickness at all to the lasagna.

    1. If you want to make really good lasagne, don't substitute the pasta sheets. Egg roll wrappers don't have the right taste and texture. The 101 cookbook recipe is actually an authentic Italian recipe because is made with few good quality ingredients and a small amount of sauce in between the pasta layers. If you want to add some meat, just make a meat sauce with the crumbled sausages or better with some minced pork.
      See e.g. my pork ragu here
      http://madonnadelpiatto.com/2009/02/1...

      5 Replies
      1. re: madonnadelpiatto

        > The 101 cookbook recipe is actually an authentic Italian recipe because is made with few good quality ingredients and a small amount of sauce in between the pasta layers.>

        Really? Even with the lemon zest? That ingredient rubs me wrong. I think that recipe is missing either bechamel or ricotta. I'd be wary of using so much fresh mozzarella...that stuff can release a lot of water, and depending on the brand, can be kind of flavorless or rubbery when cooked.

        1. re: ChristinaMason

          Fresh mozzarella is neither watery nor rubbery and has a delicious milky flavor. There are many lasagnas in Italy and each area has their own interpretation.
          My friend from Venice thinks that putting ricotta in a lasagna is disgusting. She put peas and god knows what else in hers.
          My favorite is from the Genoa area and consists of many tiny layers of Ham, pesto, Fontina, pasta and cream.
          Lemon flavor is much loved in southern Italy. I have seen it added to ricotta along with nutmeg for stuffed pastas especially with tomato sauce.

          1. re: chefj

            "My favorite is from the Genoa area and consists of many tiny layers of Ham, pesto, Fontina, pasta and cream."

            And mine as well.

            1. re: chefj

              The Genoan lasagna sounds amazing. I can see the lemon in the creamy part, but not the tomato sauce. Just doesn't sound appetizing.

              I've been getting some pretty lame fresh mozzarella here in Berlin (serves me right for buying everyday stuff from the regular supermarket) and last time I used it in a baked polenta dish, it released a ton of water and was pretty flavorless. That's why I acknowledged it "depends on the brand."

              1. re: ChristinaMason

                You'll b able to hopefully get the good stuff when back here, or come up to NYC, we have great fresh mozzarella here. Something to look forward to.

        2. jfood would take a pass on that recipe, way too much red pepper flakes, OK a little citric acid but zest from an entire lemon? too many other great ways to make pasagne than this one in jfood's opinion.

          1. I want to scream but won't EGGROLL WRAPPERS BEAR NO RESEMBLENCE TO LASAGNE. Please don't do this.

            My favorite lasagne is Hazan's green lasagne. You could substitute storebought noodles if you don't want to make them. I searched quickly and here's something that comes close:

            http://web.me.com/spinachtiger/Spinac...

            1. Thanks for all the helpful advice. It didn't sound like many people were too thrilled with the idea of the 1000 layer lasagna, but I forged ahead anyway.

              As mcel suggested, I added the sausage to the sauce. I ended up mixing the spinach w/ ricotta (per smitten kitchen) and also tossed in my shredded mozzarella to the mixture.

              I did however nix the egg roll wrapper idea in favor of fresh lasagna sheets rolled a bit thinner. I also used my own tomato sauce recipe where I use quite a bit of crushed red pepper but no lemon zest.

              All these additions yielded much thicker layers than were found in the original recipe which only included sauce and cheese between the layers. I only ended up with about 6 or 7 layers.

              However, since my lasagna pan yields only side and corner pieces, the parts touching the pan were incredibly crisp and yummy.

              My friend enjoyed his birthday lasagna, along with some stir-fried sea beans and multigrain bread from HBin5, but I think I'll have to try it sans sausage and spinach to really figure out what all the fuss is about.

              11 Replies
              1. re: soypower

                I skimmed the 37 comments about the recipe and no one had actually cooked it so the only "fuss" is in the mind of the author. I've given up every other lasagne in favor of Hazan's green lasagne. Homemade spinach lasagne noodles, bechamel sauce, ragu Bolgonese and grated Parm on top. No ricotta. This to me is the ultimate. Rich but not heavy.

                1. re: c oliver

                  Not sure why I feel the need to justify my interest in this particular recipe, but here’s more of the fuss I had looked into before attempting it…

                  http://www.sassyradish.com/2007/06/a-...

                  http://feedmeimhungry.blogspot.com/20...

                  http://whitneyinchicago.wordpress.com...

                  http://lucystable.blogspot.com/2009/0...

                  http://www.bigoven.com/180793-Thousan...

                  http://recipeland.com/recipe/v/Thousa...

                  http://ourkitchensink.wordpress.com/2...

                  http://theviewfromthe32ndfloor.blogsp...

                  1. re: soypower

                    Arghhhhhhhhh! I've tried three times to post here and include a couple of pictures of my homemade lasagne noodles. It won't go. So let me say that you in no way need to justify that. And thanks for the links. I looked at ALL of them. And doing that showed me that what they call 1000 Layer is what I just call lasagne. My roller goes down to 8 but I've not been able to get them thinner than 7, maybe due to the spinach in the pasta. But they're very thin. And very wonderful. Alot of work but so worth it. I can't imagine being able to buy the noodles thin enough but maybe roll them thinner. Happy cooking.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      pix

                      1. re: c oliver

                        Insert paws clapping

                        1. re: jfood

                          Obrigada (heading back to Rio soon and need to practice). Without jfood-inspired packets of Bolognese in the freezer, it would have been just too much.

                        2. re: c oliver

                          Gorgeous!

                          1. re: soypower

                            Thanks. I owned that pasta roller for probably two years before I ever used it. I'm VERY dough-phobic :)

                  2. re: soypower

                    :-))

                    You created your own recipe for lasagne, nice job, and you enjoyed it, even better nice job.

                    1. re: jfood

                      Thank you...And now if I could only find a recipe for this:

                      http://nymag.com/restaurants/features...

                      1. re: soypower

                        jfood likes the math. Now he can tell the bakery their 7-layer cake is a lie, it's really a 14-layer cake.

                        Here's an idea...take a plate and 51 pieces of spaghetti, then lay them across the plate, place some sauce an cheese in between each strand and call it a "thinly sliced horizontally induced 101 layers of lasagne".

                  3. After the fact, I'd suggest that if you want to maintain the super-thin layers while incorporating meat, forego sausage and instead get thinly-sliced meat cold cuts - salami, mortadella, Polish loaf, for example. Mix and match.