Some Food Network Fans Were Mystified Over an Alex Guarnaschelli Lasagna Recipe

Alex Guarnaschelli’s Old School Lasagna with Bolognese Sauce has great ratings on Food Network’s site. The recipe right now has more than 50 four-and-a-half star reviews.

What many home cooks didn’t love so much was what they felt was altogether too much of one ingredient. It made one reviewer write, “That sounded insane to me.”

Food Network chefs Alex Guarnaschelli and Giada De Laurentiis smile for a photo during a 2015 Food Network event.
Italian-American Food Network chefs Alex Guarnaschelli, left, with Giada De Laurentiis in 2015 | Cindy Ord/Getty Images for NYCWFF

Guarnaschelli’s love for lasagna shows in this recipe

The Italian-American chef calls this lasagna “old school” and for good reason: it’s not light in any way. It’s usually a meaty casserole, bursting with flavor, as Guarnaschelli wrote in an introduction to the Food Network recipe.

“I love lasagna,” she stated simply. “I sometimes make it my Sunday afternoon project and enjoy it for dinner on a weeknight when I don’t have as much free time. It tastes just as delicious (if not better) when it sits in the refrigerator overnight before eating!”

In the Food Network video for this recipe, Guarnaschelli said, “This is the lasagna that I grew up with. My mom made lots of different versions of lasagna because we’re Italian-Americans, so this was like a food group when I was growing up. This recipe is easy; it doesn’t have anything complicated in it.”

The chef adds whole milk to the bolognese sauce of ground beef, carrots, onion, celery, and tomato sauce.

“I love what the milk does to balance out the tang of the tomato and the beef. … It makes this bolognese sublime,” she explained.

Get the full recipe, video, and reviews on Food Network’s site.

Reviewers felt the chef’s use of olive oil was out of control

Guarnaschelli calls for cooks to prepare a hefty homemade tomato sauce for this lasagna. Home cooks had no problem with the two medium onions, eight garlic cloves, eight thyme sprigs, two bay leaves, eight pounds of ripe tomatoes, or almost two cups of fresh basil in the recipe.

But they were surprised at the full cup of olive oil Guarnaschelli uses for the tomato sauce, as reviewers noted.

“Entirely too much olive oil,” said one reviewer, while another went into more detail, writing: “An entire cup of olive oil in the sauce? No thanks. When the lasagna was finished cooking, I was scooping oil off the top with a spoon. After the first piece was removed, an oil pool developed and I was able to recover nearly 2/3 cup of oil after baking just by tilting the pan. Totally unappetizing. WAY TOO MUCH OIL.”

Guarnaschelli’s lasagna recipe just proves people take their lasagna seriously

Still, despite some greasy reviews, the Alex vs. America star’s dish received many great comments.

“I love this recipe, it’s very much like my mother’s and grandfather’s,” one home cook said.

Another added, “This was delicious, I’ve made it in large and small batches. Love that this isn’t a conventional lasagna, with layers of gritty ricotta cheese.”

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