Monday, November 21, 2011

Planet Hollywood's LA Lasagna

So my dear friend Heather went to Disney this summer. Apparently she had this dish while down there and was super excited to find the recipe online. Only problem is she isn't much for cooking so I told her I would make it for her. I should have read the recipe first! LOL! it is pretty labor intensive! Plus it calls for 9x7 pasta sheets! Where the hell do you get those??? I solved this problem by fusing two egg roll wrappers together and thankfully it worked out perfectly. I also used the tempura batter recipe from my Joy of Cooking since they did not bother to provide one here. I also made a backup traditional lasagna just in case this turned out to be a epic failure. I am happy to say it was not and it really was quite delicious. I did use a jarred 3 cheese alfredo sauce but used the leftover bolognese instead of jarred marinara as the recipe calls for. I didn't really understand why it would instruct you to use jarred sauce after you just made a delicious bolognese. Silly.

Planet Hollywood LA Lasagna

Bolognese Sauce and Stuffing:
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/3 lbs. Italian sausage
1 1/3 lbs. ground beef
4 oz. diced red pepper
4 oz. diced red onion
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 - 16 oz. jar tomato sauce
1 - 12 oz. can tomato puree
1 tsp. coarse black pepper
4 oz. grated parmesan cheese
pinch of salt
Italian seasoning
Coarse black pepper
bread crumbs

Saute onions, peppers, garlic in olive oil, add meats and brown ensuring all meat is broken up finely. Drain off all grease. Add tomato puree, tomato sauce, black pepper and salt. Simmer 10 minutes, add parmesan cheese and simmer 10 minutes longer. Cool mixture in refrigerator at least 2 hours. After cooling add in bread crumbs, (just enough to bind), a pinch of salt, Italian seasoning (to taste) and black pepper. Refrigerate for a half hour.

LA Cheese Stuffing:
1 1/2 lbs. Ricotta cheese
4 oz. shredded parmesan cheese
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/8 cup bread crumbs
1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil
2 teaspoons fresh chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix all ingredients together until well combined and refrigerate.

How To Make the LA Lasagna:
5 - 9x7 cooked pasta sheets
5 cups prepared tempura batter
2 1/2 cups bread crumbs
egg wash (1 egg and 1/4 cup of water)
LA cheese stuffing
Bolognese mixture
10 oz. of your favorite marinara sauce
40 oz. of 4-Cheese Sauce (store bought)
Fresh basil, chopped

Layout pasta sheets and scoop one fifth of Bolognese mixture onto pasta sheets spreading evenly leaving a 1 inch lip on top, then spread one fifth of the cheese mixture on top of the meat mixture in the same manner. Brush the top edge of pasta sheet with egg wash and tightly roll lasagna up and seal. Repeat with other four sheets. Refrigerate until cold.

Take one roll and dip in tempura batter and then roll in the bread crumbs until completely coated. Dip each end back into the batter and seal with more bread crumbs.

Fry in hot oil at 350F for approximately 8 minutes. Carefully remove from oil and place on a cutting board. Slice off both ends of roll and discard.
Cut the roll in half and cut each piece on the bias. Ladle 2 oz. of warmed marinara sauce in the bottom of a large soup bowl. Place lasagna pieces in center of bowl. Top with 8 oz. of warmed 4-Cheese Sauce and garnish with fresh basil.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Maine Event

So this past weekend was the Hood New England Dairy Cookoff and I am sad to report that I am not $10,000 or even $500 richer. I did not make the finals but I did have a wonderful time participating in the event. The fact that I even made the semi-finals was an accomplishment as it was reported that there were over 1,000 recipes entered. Even though I did not advance to the finals, I recieved a lot of compliments on my soup. One of the judges even came up to my cooking station afterwards and told me she thought my recipe was "brilliant". WOW! That right there is worth $10,000! Lorraine, our hostess, was very sweet and welcoming and the culinary school instructors and their students that were helping us were all lots of fun. Amanda, my helper, was awesome and help calmed my nerves thoughout the cooking process. I couldn't have gotten that soup in the bowls without her. This being my first ever cooking competition I have to admit my hands were shaking! I am already thinking about recipes to develop and enter in next years contest as I had so much fun doing this and I can't wait to do it again (if I qualify). The best part of the entire experience, however, is that I got to spend a beautiful weekend in Maine with my wonderful husband.

My cooking station:

Goofing away the pre-cooking jitters!

Me, TFWO (totally f'ing wigging out) and getting my station set to cook.

Getting my cook on! Many thanks to my helper Amanda who is standing behind me!

Presentation counts!

Team Soup!