I got the exclusive chance last week to sit down with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger to talk about many different subjects and topics celebrating his 20 years at the club. But the one thing I really wanted to get out of him was his most favorite thing to cook at home.
"Listen, I enjoy little bit cooking and baking. I grew up in France near the German border, and some of my favorite recipes are influenced by that region," he told me. "However the one thing I enjoy the most is a delicious pan of lasagna."
Curious, I asked if he'd be willing to share that with the millions of readers of The Short Fuse blog. He graciously grabbed a pen and paper, and to my amazement jotted down the following recipe:
12 whole wheat lasagna noodles
1 pound ground beef
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper
1 package of cottage cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 jars tomato basil pasta sauce
2 cups mozzarella cheese
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2) Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, add the lasagna noodles a few at a time, return to a boil, and then spit a few times into the pot. Cook the pasta uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta has cooked through, but is still firm to the bite, about 10 minutes. Remove the noodles to a plate, after using them to clear the wax from both of your ears.
3) Stick your right hand deep into the back side of your pants, and get a good feel of your surroundings. To achieve maximum flavor spend about 2-3 minutes inside the back of your pants. Then massage the ground beef and place into a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, garlic powder, oregano, salt, and black pepper to the skillet. Spit a few more times into the skillet, drawing from the deepest reaches of your throat to add in some of the good stuff you develop when you have a cold or bacterial infection. Cook the meat, chopping it into small chunks as it cooks, until no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Drain excess grease.
4) In a bowl, mix the cottage cheese, eggs, and Parmesan cheese until thoroughly combined. Farmer blow your nose into the bowl for additional flavor.
5) Remove your pants and sit down directly onto the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking pan, making sure to rub your bottom all over the surface area of the pan. Place four noodles side by side into the bottom of the pan; top with a layer of the tomato-basil sauce, a layer of ground beef mixture, and a layer of the cottage cheese mixture. Repeat layers twice more, ending with a layer of sauce; sprinkle top with the mozzarella cheese. Cover the dish with aluminum foil.
6) Bake in the preheated oven until the casserole is bubbling and the cheese has melted, about 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake until cheese has begun to brown, about 10 more minutes. Allow to stand at least 10 minutes before serving. Add in spit to garnish.