My sister makes a mean lasagna.
The problem is her friend, Glen, has very fond memories of the lasagna he ate as a child and he thinks HIS lasagna is pretty darn good.
The only way to solve the dispute, undoubtedly, was a cook-off.
Both contestants prepared their lasagnas at home and brought them over to our house to be cooked and subsequently judged.
Let me break down the differences between the two lasagnas:
- spinach/ricotta layer
- ground beef
- more cheese than you can ever imagine
- thick cheese top layer
- very structured layers and tightly packed together
- literally weighs a tonne
- mushrooms (canned, to preserve the authenticity of his childhood memory)
- lots of noodle layers
- cottage cheese layer
- ground beef
- thin top layer of Parmesan/mozzarella cheese
- chopped parsley on top for visual appeal and the attempt at healthiness.
- More free-form in the layers
I threw my “everything but the kitchen sink” lasagna into the tasting mix, but decided it wouldn’t be fair to the contestants to have mine judged as I never claimed that it was the best. (but it was pretty darn good if I do say so myself AND it used up a variety of things in my fridge that were just sitting there taking up space)
Each person around the table was required to try both lasagnas. Some even ate more than one piece of each to get a better handle on the complex flavor combination. (The judging panel wanted to make well informed votes…) I made garlic bread and Cesar salad to go along with the lasagnas but looking back now, it was just EXTRA food that contributed to the carb coma and meat sweats we all felt by the end of the meal.
We voted by secret ballot and I read the votes in the traditional “Survivor” style.
In the end my sister prevailed. Her spinach/ricotta/cheese brick won the votes of most of the judges. (Glen, you know I voted for yours….it was an exceptional lasagna)
It was a great time and Liz was a gracious winner.
In the end, Glen and Liz decided that a hybrid of the two would make the ultimate lasagna….with the addition of a layer of salami (that was in my “kitchen-sink” lasagna and was a big hit with the judges)
We’ve decided we will do this again…but not in July….it was so hot and we all sweat our way through the meal. January will be the next meeting…when we are all sick of turkey and everyone can wear their stretchy lasagna-eating pants.