Popular chef Alton Brown boasts thousands of five-star recipes on Food Network’s site, with fans declaring many of his dishes, including his pulled pork, roast turkey, and more, “the best.”
It’s hard to believe then, that the chef could ever produce a dud in the kitchen. But he apparently confessed in his new cookbook, Good Eats 4: The Final Years, to doing just that.
Here’s more on the recipe Brown says he’s finally gotten right.
What Brown’s lasagna did wrong, according to home cooks
The Iron Chef host’s set-it-and-leave-it spin on the classic Italian casserole was received with five-star reviews by a minority of the few dozen home cooks who reviewed it on Food Network’s site.
Then there were all the others. Some took issue with Brown putting raw ground sausage in the slow cooker without browning it first, and others simply were aghast at his use of goat milk powder in a lasagna.
Reviewers said in part, “This recipe is an abomination against all that’s good and holy,” “Alton Brown, you owe us an apology (and you owe me $25!),” and “AB, you need to atone for this application.”
Alton Brown says his Slow-Cooker Lasagna is loathed by many of his fans
Brown took all this criticism of his recipe graciously, even rebooting it for his new cookbook.
“My original Slow Cooker Lasagna is, I believe, the most hated Good Eats recipe of all time,” he wrote. “For those who wisely chose to avoid it, the noodles ran up the side of the slow cooker and, well … dried goat milk was involved. I’m just going to leave it at that.”
That wasn’t all that was wrong with it according to unhappy reviewers, who cited “pressed together” meat, “mushy” noodles, “flaccid” vegetables, and “lost” tomato flavor, as well as pooled grease from cooking the meat in the slow cooker instead of beforehand.
How the chef got the recipe right
And so, in his revised recipe, the chef gives his least satisfied reviewers what they wanted all along: “the classic, only better.” For this re-do, he avoids the slow cooker and prepares it in the oven.
With that in mind, he presents “the most lasagna lasagna that I know of. And yes, I’ve been to Hoboken.”
This is no quick and dirty lasagna. Called “Classic American Lasagna,” the chef’s newer recipe, he admits, “is quite a project, what with making the ricotta and ragù and all, but it is beyond worth it. Trust me.”
That’s right: the recipe requires home cooks to make their own ricotta cheese using whole milk, kosher salt, white vinegar, a large colander, and cheesecloth. A digital instant-read thermometer will also be needed.
As for the ragù alla Bolognese, Brown writes, it’s “the engine room of lasagna. Without it, the lasagna does not exist.”
The meat sauce is “quite a bit of work, so I suggest you make it ahead and then take a vacation before assembling the final dish.” And we don’t think he’s joking. It’s an involved Bolognese sauce recipe, but one absolutely worth the effort for special occasions and holidays.
Looking through the recipe, one wonders if it’s Brown’s ultimate lasagna vengeance, as his footnote adds, “You want better lasagna … this is what it’s gonna take, so get cooking.”
And if Alton Brown went to all the trouble of rewriting a recipe for his fans, you know it’s going to be amazing.
RELATED: Alton Brown on the Best Way to Clean a Cast-Iron Pan: ‘It’s Iron, It’ll Get Over It’