ERIC'S STAFF LASAGNA - French Laundry Restaurant

ERIC’S STAFF LASAGNA - French Laundry Restaurant

Prep time:1 1/2 hours. Cook time:3 1/2 hours. Makes about 9 servings
“Staff meal. Only the staff sees it. If you can make great food for these people, create that habit, have that drive, that sincerity, and keep that with you and take it to another level in the staff meal, then someday you’ll be a great chef. Maybe,” writes Thomas Keller in introducing this recipe. Note: The prep time includes the 1 hour cool time for the noodles before assembling the lasagna.


1 pound lasagna noodles
1/2 pound mozzarella, grated
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
11/2 cups minced yellow onions
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 cup tomato paste
8 cups cut-up peeled tomatoes (about 12 to 14 medium tomatoes, cut into rough 1-inch pieces)
1/4 cup chopped oregano or 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped basil
11/2 pounds whole-milk ricotta
3 large eggs
1/2 cup chopped parsley
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Sauce: Heat the oil in a large heavy pot. Add the onions and garlic and cook gently for 4 to 5 minutes, or until translucent. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes (the tomato paste will separate from the oil and the oil will turn a vivid orange). Add the tomatoes and stir to combine.

On the stove top, simmer the sauce gently for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot every 10 minutes to prevent scorching.

When the sauce is done, it should be thick, slightly chunky, and reduced to about 1 quart. Add the oregano and let cool to room temperature (about 1 hour) before assembling the lasagna.

Filling: In a large bowl, whisk together the ricotta and eggs until completely blended. Add the parsley and salt and pepper to taste and mix until well combined. Refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the lasagna.

Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water according to the package directions. Drain the noodles and allow them to cool slightly.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

To assemble the lasagna: Spread a thin layer (3/4 to 1 cup) of sauce over the bottom of a 9- by 13-inch baking pan. Place a layer of noodles (no more than one quarter of them) in the pan, slightly overlapping them. Spread half of the ricotta mixture evenly over the noodles and top with another layer of noodles. Reserve 1 cup of the remaining sauce and spread the rest over the noodles, completely covering them. Arrange another layer of noodles on top and cover with the remaining ricotta mixture. Top with a final layer of noodles and spoon the reserved sauce over them. Toss the grated mozzarella with salt and pepper to taste (to give the cheese more flavor) and sprinkle it over the top.

Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the mozzarella is a spotted golden brown and the lasagna is hot throughout.

Per serving: 561 cal.; 22 g pro.; 50 g carb.; 29 g fat (12 sat.; 14 monounsat.; 3 polyunsat.); 123 mg chol.; 354 mg sod.; 5 g fiber; 46 percent calories from fat.

Source: “The French Laundry Cookbook” (Artisan), 2000, French Laundry Restaurant, Yountville, CA

The French Laundry is one of only a handful of Michelin 3 star restaurants in the US.