Planning the inaugural dish

I was wondering — is this what they call the first meal they serve to a new president at the White House — the inaugural dish?

Anyway, I’m still channeling my energy into planning the first meal I’m going to cook in my brand new kitchen. I wanted to make something that would take a long long time so I could really spend some quality time with my new kitchen. At first, I thought about making Julia Child’s Beouf Bourguignon recipe. (Here’s a link to the recipe courtesy of ABC News.) It looked so good in the Julie and Julia movie. I shot down that idea because I’ve made stuff like that before. I want to try something completely different this time around with my new kitchen.

And then it dawned on me. Tucked away in one of thousands of emails I send to myself, I found a recipe from the blog 101cooks.com for thousand layer lasagne. I had this lasagne during my first trip to Italy and I loved it. It calls for homemade lasagne sheets (or you could easily cheat by buying fresh pasta and cranking it through your pasta maker), but doing everything from scratch would give me exactly what I wanted — a laborious meal that would take hours to make and have a glorious payoff.

On my first visit to Italy, I took a pasta making class in Florence. Our instructor Barbara took us to the local open air market to buy ingredients and toured us through a few neighborhood groceries. It amazed me that Italians have such wonderful, fresh and colorful products at their disposal. I also learned that the best flour to use when making pasta is the Italian “00” flour, which means that this is the finest milled flour available.

florence market

florence grocery

beans

Making fresh pasta from scratch is a labor of love. You start out with a mountain of flour, you make well in the middle and then crack in two eggs. And then you knead it forever. Amazingly, that’s all pasta is — egg and flour. You crank it through a pasta machine several times and then finally, you end up with a long thin sheet of pasta. This recipe calls for super fine rectangles of pasta, so after this experience, I will be very intimate with that pasta machine I haven’t touched since 2005.

Now that I’ve put this in writing, I guess I have to follow through with making this incredible dish. It will be an hours-long process so I’m sure I’ll have a lot to complain talk about. If I hadn’t put it in writing, I might back out of it. There’s no turning back now.

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One response to “Planning the inaugural dish

  1. That lasagna sounds amazing. Some friends gave me a cook book of this amazing restaurant in Big Sur. I’ll have to bring it with me when I visit you.

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