Skip to main content

Featured Post

My cookbook: "Tehran to New York"

On the Norouz day of 2020 spring, I finally published my book. The manuscript is titled: "Tehran to New York: A culinary bridge between Persian and Western cultures" and aims at presenting a unique blend of classic and contemporary Persian recipes, as well as samples of Western-style cuisine, offered in a Persian context. It is important to build bridges between cultures, and not walls. This book aims at constructing a bridge between the Persian and Western cultures. The book may be ordered here:  

Broiled lasagna with umami bolognese sauce

I recently don’t post in English as there is an absolute abundance of good cooking websites and blogs written in English. But when I do so, it is probably something very special which could not be easily found in the aforementioned references. Here for example, I shift lasagna from a dish of casserole-like properties towards a dish of pizza-like properties such as thinness and crispiness. This version obviously is not a crowd-pleaser, as I can imagine, it would be hard to be produced in large volumes. But when I want to please my own arse (or that of a few others too), this is the way to go and I don’t think I will never get back to the old version ever again.

8 sheets no-boil lasagna
3.52 Oz (~100 gr) Parmesan cheese
Meat sauce (recipe follows)
Mornay sauce (recipe follows)
Meat sauce:
1.1 Pound (~500 gr) 80/20 ground beef chuck
2 TBSP Maple syrup
1 cup trinity (celery, onion, green bell pepper), finely chopped)
¼ cup tomato paste
1 TBSP Mushrooms powder
1 TBSP blue cheese powder
½ TSP crushed red pepper
¼ TSP dried Marjoram
1/8 TSP Hickory smoke powder
1 cup Merlot
1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to season
Mornay sauce:
2 TBSP butter
2 TBSP flour
1 TBSP blue cheese powder
1 cup 2% Milk
2 Oz (~55 gr) Parmesan cheese

To make the sauce Umami-rich, I used several dried herbs and spices like blue cheese powder, mushroom powder and Marjoram. Wine, Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste are also rich sources of Umami. Browning meat and pasta noodles intensifies the Umami taste as well.

Brown the meat in a hot pan with no oil added. When completely brown add the maple syrup, remove from pot and set aside. Add the trinity (not the holy one) and brown in the same pot. Add the tomato paste and all the spices and fry in the existing oil for a more pronounced flavor.
Bring meat back to the pot and add the wine and Worcestershire . Lower the heat and simmer for an hour.    

Turn on the broiler at least 15 minutes before lasagna goes underneath. Boil the noodles until completely cooked (a little more done than al-dente to avoid burning and drying out under broiler). Please note that broiling will only brown the pasta and will cause no further cooking of the aforementioned. Make the Mornay sauce by frying flour in butter and adding the cold milk. Finish the sauce with blue cheese powder and Parmesan (yet another rich source of umami).   

Line an oven pan with parchment paper and lay out four noodle sheets. Pour ¾ of the meat sauce and all the cheese sauce on noodles (divide equally between each of the four).

Lay out each of the other four noodles on top of each noodle and rub the remaining meat sauce on top. The oil from sauce will cause noodles to get brown and crispy. To finish, sprinkle with Parmesan. 

Broil for 5~10 minutes on the middle rack.

Absolutely delicious!