Culinary SOS: Palomino's deconstructed lamb lasagna

Culinary SOS: Palomino's deconstructed lamb lasagna
Palomino's deconstructed lamb lasagna. Recipe (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

Dear Culinary SOS:

My son and I enjoyed a delightful take on lasagna at the Westwood


in early December. We requested a recipe. The dish was: deconstructed lasagna and contained a lamb mixture, cheese and mafalda pasta. The young lady would not divulge the recipe. The great blending of flavors lingers even now. We hope you can get it for us. Living in South Pasadena, we do not visit Westwood too often.

Margaret Lindstrom

South Pasadena

Dear Margaret:

We were able to coax the recipe from Palomino. We loved the depth of flavor in this "deconstructed" take on lasagna. The components of the dish can be prepared ahead of time and assembled in a final few tosses on the stove, making it easy if you're planning for company.

Palomino's deconstructed lamb lasagna

Total time:

2 hours, 40 minutes


4 to 8


Adapted from Palomino Westwood. Mafalda pasta is available at select cooking stores and Italian markets.


Basic tomato sauce

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup diced onion

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh basil

1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, crushed by hand, with the juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

In a 2-quart heavy-bottom saucepan,

heat the oil over medium-high heat just until it begins to ripple, about 2 minutes. Stir in the onions and garlic and cook, stirring frequently until the onions are translucent. Stir in the basil, tomatoes, salt and pepper and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes break down and the sauce just coats the back of a spoon, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat. This makes about 2 cups sauce.

Eggplant Caponata

1 (8-ounce) eggplant, cut lengthwise into ½-inch slices

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

11/4 teaspoons salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/3 cup diced onion

1 teaspoon minced garlic

3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano

3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh Italian parsley

1/2 cup Basic Tomato Sauce

Pinch of crushed red pepper

1/3 cup diced roasted red pepper, cut into ¼- to ½-inch dice

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1. Grill the eggplant:

Brush the eggplant slices with 1 tablespoon olive oil, then season with one-fourth teaspoon salt and the pepper. Grill the eggplant on both sides to mark, then cool completely. Dice the eggplant into one-half-inch pieces.

2. Heat the remaining oil

in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat until the oil begins to ripple. Stir in the onions and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent. Stir in the herbs and tomato sauce and bring to a boil. Fold in the eggplant along with the crushed red pepper, roasted red pepper, red wine vinegar and remaining teaspoon salt. Remove from heat, taste, and adjust seasonings and flavoring as desired.

Lamb Sauce

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 pound ground lamb

1/2 cup dry red wine

1/2 cup of veal or beef demi-glace

11/2 cups of Basic Tomato Sauce

2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil

in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat until it begins to ripple. Stir in the lamb and brown, stirring frequently. Add the wine and scrape any flavoring from the bottom of the pan. Cook until the wine is reduced by half. Stir in the demi-glace and reduce the total liquid by one-third. Stir in the tomato sauce, fresh mint and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. This makes a generous 2 cups sauce.

Lasagna assembly

2 plum tomatoes

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

10 ounces mafalda pasta, broken into 2- to 3-inch-long pieces

4 teaspoons minced shallot (from about 1 shallot)

2 cups Lamb Sauce, divided

Prepared Eggplant Caponata

1 cup grated Grana Padano

2 teaspoons sherry vinegar

1/4 cup crumbled fresh goat cheese

4 teaspoons chopped Italian parsley

1. Roast the tomatoes:

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Slice the tomatoes lengthwise into slices approximately one-fourth-inch thick and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle over 2 tablespoons oil, and season with a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Roast the tomatoes until lightly caramelized on top but still somewhat soft in the center, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat.

2. Cook the pasta:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Spread the pasta on a baking sheet to cool slightly. The pasta can be made up to this point, and all of the components refrigerated for up to 2 days before completing the dish.

3. Heat the remaining

one-fourth cup oil in a medium heavy-bottom pot over medium-low heat until it begins to ripple. Add the shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Stir in the cooked pasta, then stir in 1½ cups lamb sauce. Gently stir in the Eggplant Caponata. Stir in the grated Grana Padano and vinegar, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

4. Spoon the pasta

into large serving bowls, and spoon over the remaining lamb sauce. Sprinkle the goat cheese crumbles over the servings then sprinkle over the chopped parsley. Fan roasted tomato slices over each to garnish, and serve immediately.

Each of 8 servings:

598 calories; 16 grams protein; 38 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams fiber; 42 grams fat; 10 grams saturated fat; 34 mg cholesterol; 6 grams sugar; 884 mg sodium.


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