Not His Finest Dish, But a Solid Effort

20180114_171514[1]It can be a remarkable occasion to dine on a classic Italian dish, and such an event can be made all the more important with proper preparations and attention to the smallest of details. I, of course, am no stranger to the Chef’s works; invariably I tend to refer to myself as something of a connoisseur of his various masterpieces. Perhaps before I fully grade his Lasagna dish, I must go about exploring the circumstances leading up to this review, for that will clearly add a flavour all of its own.

The day had been a slow one and, indeed, I sought the particular comforts of a hearty and wholesome meal to recharge my aching body. It had been a long weekend of great physical exertion and work, as well, there is a great deal of work before me in these coming days. As such, on this rare day off (or, at the very least, one of minor tasks) I wanted to feast on something that would fill not only my physical being with comfort, but something that could recharge my very soul and steel myself for the labours ahead.

With such in mind, I turned to an old friend and sought what I knew he could deliver. The Chef had a recipe that I had yet to try, and being something of a person with a refined pallet, I was hesitant to go outside my comfort zone. However, I relented after a time and decided that it was, indeed, as good a time as any to try his particular spin on a classic Lasagna.

Preparations certainly didn’t take long; I had to busy myself with collecting my thoughts on what other tasks I was to complete today all the same, so the wait passed by quite well. Besides, the atmosphere was titillating, what with that small infusion of anticipation for something that was to arrive. The seating, I admit, was uncomfortably familiar; I had sat in that chair on many an occasion while waiting for the meal to be ready. It harkened back to images of a cozy country kitchen, actually, and I could very nearly imagine the sights around of a traditional Italian vista spreading far below and around me as the Chef took to his task.

As said, the preparations did not take long, and the meal was served. The temperature upon arrival was, perhaps, the most perfect I had encountered with this particular cooking method I had encountered in a long time. The heat was neither intense nor lacking; rather it was carefully and craftily set for a warming experience.

Presentation was exactly how I had come to expect it as well: being no stranger to the Chef’s dishes, I immediately recognized the low, square platter he had used. White china, but with a pleasing, if simple, blue floral pattern around two sides of the dish. It complimented the red sauce used quite well, in fact, bringing more attention to the veritable cornucopia of spices used to flavour that tomato and onion-based sauce.

The pasta base, itself, was nothing revolutionary: nor did it need to be. Had the Chef tried to get creative with the wheat-based shell, I fear it would have only harmed the intended end of this meal. Instead, it seemed to soften the savoriness of the sauce, which used a clever balance of familiar spices into a unique experience. For certain I could taste oregano and garlic, but I might have detected a hint of Bay leaf as well, though I could not be certain.

The beef was a bit dry, however; overcooked or just of bad stock I cannot say for certain. The dryness did detract from the experience, but not to an overwhelming degree. The bigger issue lies with the consistency of the whole creation. There seemed to have been almost a dry, granular quality to the consumption of the lasagna, and it actually harmed the overall sensation.

I have had the pleasure of the Chef’s raviolis and beefaroni on many an occasion, and it always brings pleasure to every ounce of my being. This time, however, the Chef had changed his direction with the sauce he used. It has hints of the original flare that he infused into his other works, but there seems to have been a shift in concept behind this particular attempt.

And I can safely reject the idea that it was a fluke of procedure; the Chef is well known for his consistency in dishes and concoctions, so I am very comfortable in my declaration that this was his intended end.

Overall, I can say that Chef Boyardee’s Lasagna was a good, solid attempt, but it was simply not to my liking. I will be certain to call upon his culinary expertise in the future, but this dish will be a one time experience, to be sure.

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