I’ve been wanting to make this dish for years now, but every time I read the recipe, the list of ingredients and the sheer time and effort required to make this seem simply… daunting. But this is the month of June and it is a certain someone’s special day, so I figured that it is worth pulling all the stops this time around.
As the name suggests, the Manly Man Lasagna is definitely “manly”, given its massive size and insane amounts of unhealthy (but oh-so-yummy) ingredients. To bring costs down I had to make extra effort to hunt down the ingredients at the best prices, even enlisting the help of fellow Round Knight of the Table, Merv (thanks babe!).
Be warned: it’s a LOT of effort. I started around 11 am in the morning, and except for a quick lunch break, I spent literally the rest of the day in the kitchen, prepping and cooking. It’s a lot of fun for me personally, but (as a mental note to myself, as well) I highly recommend making the bolognese and sausage tomato sauces one day ahead. One more thing, if you do have one, a food processor or kitchen aid IS YOUR FRIEND. Use it for slicing, grating and chopping your ingredients. It will save you a lot of time.
Based on Emeril’s Manly Man Lasagna recipe. Good luck!
Manly Man Lasagna
Part 1: Bolognese Sauce – 2 hours
- 2 tablespoons (about 1/8 block) butter
- 12 ounces (350g) beef breakfast strips, diced
- 6 slices (250g) jumbo bologna, diced (can also substitute with canned corned beef or luncheon meat)
- 4 pounds (1.8 kg) ground beef
- 3 cups (480 g) chopped onions
- 1 cup (125 g) finely chopped carrots
- 1 cup (100 g) finely chopped celery
- 450 g thinly sliced button mushrooms
- 3 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (cengkih) – I pounded a few with a pestle and mortar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 (6-ounce/170 g) can tomato paste
- 1 cup white wine vinegar/apple cider vinegar, diluted in 1 cup water
- 2 chicken stock cubes, diluted in 4 cups (1L) water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup chicken livers, finely chopped
- 1 cup (200 ml) whipping cream
- 1/2 cup (20 gm) chopped fresh parsley leaves
In a large Dutch oven, heat the butter over medium-high heat. Add the beef breakfast strips and bologna and cook until caramelized and light brown, about 15 minutes. Add the ground beef and cook over high heat until well browned, stirring constantly, about 20 minutes.
Add the onions, carrots, celery, and mushrooms and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, cloves and nutmeg to the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes. Add the vinegar mixture and stock and simmer over medium-high heat until sauce is thickened and flavorful, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the chicken livers to the pot and cook 5 minutes. Stir in the cream and parsley, and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Set aside until ready to assemble lasagna.
Part 2: Sausage Sauce – 1 hour
- 2 tbsps olive oil
- 1 pound (450g) Italian sausage (Fogal – Village Grocer), removed from casing
- 1 100-oz/2.95 kg can tomato sauce (or 4 25-oz jars)
Set a 6-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to the pan and once the oil is hot, crumble the sausage into the pan. Cook the sausage, stirring often until well browned on all sides, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add the tomato sauce to the pan and allow the sauce to simmer, for 45 minutes.
Remove from the heat and set aside.
Part 3: Spinach – 5 minutes
- 1.5 kg (about 4 bunches) spinach, stemmed and washed
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spinach and cook for 2 minutes. Drain in a fine mesh strainer, pressing with a large spoon to release as much water as possible. Finely chop and set aside until ready to assemble the lasagna.
Part 4: Mushrooms – 10 minutes
- 2 tablespoons (about 1/8 block) butter
- 1/4 cup (40g) minced shallots
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 500 gm portobello mushroom caps, sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and season with the salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are tender and have given off their liquid, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool. Set aside until ready to assemble the lasagna.
Part 5: Parmesan Bechamel Sauce – 10 minutes:
- 8 tablespoons (about 1/2 block) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 litres full cream milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 cups (200g) grated Parmesan
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, to make a light roux, about 2 minutes. Whisking constantly, slowly add the milk and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until thickened, 5 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, and Parmesan and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the bechamel until ready to assemble the lasagna.
Part 6: Ricotta cheese mixture – 5 minutes
- 4 cups ricotta cheese
- 2 cups (200 g) grated Gouda
- 3 cups (350g) grated mozzarella
In a bowl, combine the 2 cups of the Bechamel sauce, the ricotta, Gouda, and mozzarella cheeses. Set aside until ready to assemble the lasagna.
Assembly – 15 minutes
- 1 kg dried lasagna sheets
- 5 cups (500g) grated Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C and grease a 40 cm x 29 cm x 7 cm roasting pan with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
- Ladle 3 1/2 cups of the Italian sausage-tomato sauce into the bottom of the pan.
- Lay lasagna sheets across the top of the tomato sauce.
- Spread 1/2 of the spinach
- Half of the mushrooms over the top of the pasta
- Pour 3 cups of the Parmesan Bechamel over the mushrooms and spinach
- Sprinkle 1 cup of the Parmesan over the bechamel.
- Spread 1/2 the ricotta cheese mixture.
- Top with another layer of lasagna sheets.
- Place 1/2 of the bolognese over the lasagna.
- Top with another layer of pasta.
Repeat steps 1 to 10 for the other pan. When both pans are assembled, pour half of the remaining tomato sausage sauce over the pasta in each pan.
Final cooking – 2 hours
Wrap the top of each roasting pan with aluminium foil and set the roasting pan on a baking sheet. Bake covered for 1 hour, or until the pasta sheets are cooked through. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and remove and discard the aluminium foil. Increase the oven temperature to 200 degrees C. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan over the top of the tomato sauce, and return the pan to the oven. Bake until the cheese is well browned, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Cooling – 30 minutes
Remove from the oven and allow lasagna to cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.