The power couple behind New York restaurant Don Angie, Angie Rito and Scott Tacinelli, met almost a decade ago, working in restaurants together. Since they met, they’ve worked at multiple eateries, including a speakeasy where they earned acclaim for their lasagna. They’ve shared their lasagna bianca (white lasagna) below, along with a wonderful broccoli rabe and Provolone gratin. We couldn’t be happier to welcome these superstars to our 2020 Chefs’ Collective.
Scalloped Potato Lasagna Bianca
For the sauce:
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons garlic, grated on a Microplane (6 to 8 cloves)
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cups thinly sliced yellow onion, cut from root to stem (about 1 medium)
- 3 bay leaves
- 1/2 cup all-purpose or Wondra flour
- 2 cups whole milk, plus up to 1/4 cup more as needed
- 1 cup crème fraîche
- 2 cups finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
• 1 cup kosher salt
• 8 store-bought fresh pasta sheets (Approximately 12 × 7 inches)
• 2 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, washed and scrubbed (about 5 medium potatoes)
• 2 1/4 cups shredded whole-milk mozzarella cheese
• 1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
• 1/3 cup chopped chives (about 2 small bunches)
To make the sauce, in a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic sizzles and becomes fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the onion and bay leaves. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring constantly, until the onions are translucent and cooked through, about 10 minutes.
Add the flour and stir well to combine. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring often, until the flour is lightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Add 2 cups of the milk and the crème fraîche. Cook, stirring often with a silicone spatula and continually scraping down the sides as needed, until the sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir well, and remove the bay leaves. Add the parmesan and whisk well to combine.
Allow the sauce to cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. The sauce should be thick, but smooth and loose enough to spread across the lasagna. If the sauce thickens too much and becomes pasty, add up to an additional 1/4 cup whole milk to loosen it. You should have about 4 1/2 cups of sauce.
To assemble, prepare the pasta and potatoes: In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water and the kosher salt to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, set up an ice bath in a large bowl. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Working with one sheet at a time, place a pasta sheet in the boiling water for 15 seconds, then immediately remove and chill in the ice bath for 15 seconds. Transfer to the lined sheet pan and pat dry with a paper towel. Cover with another layer of parchment paper and repeat with the remaining pasta, creating a stack of sheets, each patted dry and each layer separated by parchment. Set aside. (Keep the pasta water on the stove.)
Fill a large bowl with cold water. Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Slice the potatoes on a mandolin 1/8 inch thick and immediately immerse in the water. Bring the pasta cooking water back up to a boil over high heat. Working in batches to avoid overcrowding, cook the potatoes in the boiling water until slightly translucent and cooked through but not mushy or crumbly, 6 to 8 minutes. Carefully remove them with a slotted spoon or spider and place on the lined baking sheet. Dab the potatoes with paper towels as needed to ensure they are dry. Spread out as much as possible and let cool to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spray a 9 ×13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Place two lasagna sheets in the bottom of the dish, overlapping in the center by about 1 inch, and trim the sides of the sheets if necessary to create one flat, even layer. Top with 1 cup of the sauce, spreading as evenly as possible with a rubber spatula. Shingle about one-quarter of the cooked potato slices on top, packing them tightly together, slightly overlapping, to cover the entire surface in an even layer. Sprinkle 3/4 cup of the mozzarella evenly over the top.
Repeat this layering process 2 more times. Top the final layer with the remaining 2 sheets of pasta, 1 cup sauce, and the potatoes, followed by the parmesan.
Cover the pan with foil, tightly attaching the foil to the edges of the dish but being careful not to press it down on the top of the lasagna, or the cheese will stick. Place in the oven and cook for 40 minutes. Remove the foil, switch to the broil setting, and cook until potatoes are golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 20 minutes before slicing into squares and serving.
Top with the chives. Serve immediately. Serves 8 to 10.
Broccoli Rabe & Provolone Gratin
• 1 pound broccoli rabe
• ¾ cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed
• 12 garlic cloves, finely chopped
• 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
• 4 teaspoons kosher salt
• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
• 2 tablespoons all-purpose or Wondra flour
• 1 cup whole milk
• 2 teaspoons sugar
• 1/2 cup coarsely grated sharp provolone cheese (grated on the large holes of a box grater)
• 1/2 cup shredded whole-milk mozzarella cheese
• 1/4 cup Crispy Shallots, optional (Recipe below)
Set the oven to broil.
Trim the bottom of the broccoli rabe stems if discolored and discard any yellowish leaves. Cut each stalk crosswise into three pieces (a stem, the middle, and the florets).
In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic, pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring often, until the garlic is lightly toasted and the butter is foamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the broccoli rabe and stir well to combine, then stir in the lemon juice. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the rabe releases most of its liquid and it evaporates, 10 to 12 minutes.
Add the flour and stir well. Continue to cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the milk and cook, stirring often, until the milk thickens, another 3 minutes. Add the sugar, provolone, and mozzarella and mix well to combine.
Pour the rabe mixture into an ovenproof baking dish (such as a 12-inch oval gratin or 9-inch square). Broil until the top is browned and bubbling, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with crispy shallots, if desired. Serve immediately, straight from the cooking vessel. Serves 6.
• 4 medium shallots, sliced into rings about 1/8 inch thick (preferably on a mandolin)
• 2 cups neutral oil such as vegetable
• Pinch of kosher salt
Place the shallots in a 2-quart saucepan. Add enough oil to come up 3 to 4 inches. Set the pot over a very low flame and cook, stirring frequently, until the shallots are an even dark golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.
Drain the shallots (reserve the oil for other uses). Spread the shallots on a plate lined with a paper towel to cool. Season with the salt. The shallots will crisp up as they cool.