[Sca-cooks] Recent cooking workshop

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius1 at verizon.net
Mon Jan 25 14:46:24 PST 2010

On Jan 25, 2010, at 5:23 PM, David Friedman wrote:

> 2. The Italian cookbook contains both a recipe for lasagna and a recipe using the lasagna; it isn't entirely clear to me how either is cooked.
> He who wants to make lesanga, take good white flour and boil it in capon broth. If it is not so much, put in some other water, and put in some salt to boil with it, and dump it in a broad, flat bowl, and put in enough cheese, and throw over it the cuttings of the fat of the capon.

Would you consider it a stretch to interpret the above as an instruction to make lasagne out of good white flour (instructions omitted), then boil it in capon broth?

(and for that matter, exactly when do you press it together with the back of your knife???)

Several other such recipes for pastas involve the addition of fatty or greasy seme. Could "cuttings" be that which is removed with a tool, i.e. the skimmed fat, basically drippings?

> Note that there are no instructions for cooking the lasagna after adding the cheese and the capon fat. Several possibilities occur to me:
> 1. That's it. Rendered chicken fat is used as a spread like mayonaise or butter in traditional Jewish cooking, so I suppose it could be used here with no further cooking. That isn't what "the cuttings of the fat" suggest to me, but that might be a translation problem.

I'd go with this interpretation until further evidence that you should not emerges.

> 2. The recipe assumes that you know that you go on to bake, or (less plausibly) boil or steam, the dish.
> 3. The "lasagna" here is more nearly equivalent to lasagna noodles--not a dish but an ingredient. Another recipe in the same cookbook has:
> If you want to make torteli of meat of fresh mixed pork, boil it so that it is cooked, and beat it with a knife so that it is very good, and take the pot and boil it and grind it in a mortar and put in up to six eggs that are boiled and mix with the meat and put in good spices and put in some good dry, grated cheese, and you want to make this pie in a pie-shell of lasagna and one should not boil it in meat broth and it should be given for dish with a long meat pottage of pepper, and it is good.

Sounds a bit like the timpania in "Big Night", doesn't it?

> Again we are not told how to cook the dish. Again there are several possibilities.
> a. The pie shell is the final product of the lasagna recipe. "Should not boil it in meat broth" is referring to the lasagna not the torteli--perhaps meaning that you use capon broth rather than meat broth. The dish is assembled but not cooked any more.
> b. The "not boil it in meat broth" means that you boil the torteli in something else, perhaps water. I have my doubts about how well the whole thing would hold together during boiling--but perhaps there is a second layer of lasagna as a lid over the pork, or perhaps we are supposed to know that torteli are closed pasta and the lasagna is wrapped around the filling. Or perhaps it does hold together--we haven't tried it.

How about not boiling the lasagne in meat broth (since it will be filled with meat, cheese, eggs, anyway?), then assembling the cooked noodles and cooked filling in the pan. Which may or may not then be baked.


"Most men worry about their own bellies, and other people's souls, when we all ought to worry about our own souls, and other people's bellies."
			-- Rabbi Israel Salanter

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