Mario Batali’s famed Del Posto isn't the type of place you go for a casual date night. The 24,000sqft not-quite-Meatpacking/not-quite-Chelsea restaurant, which Batali opened with partners Joe and Lidia Bastianich in 2005, is still one of the city’s most extravagant Italian dining experiences: think table-cloth settings, gold accents, and a grand, candle-lit marble staircase. On top of that, a five- or eight-course dinner inspired by different Italian regions runs each guest $149-179. But in addition to being fancy, Del Posto is also home to one of the city's most important dishes: the 100-layer lasagne.
The 100-layer lasagne was first introduced at Del Posto in 2010 by Chef Mark Ladner (who’s leaving the restaurant at the end of the month), and is officially called "Yesterday's 100 Layer Lasagne" -- though it's very much just as relevant today. Originally part of the restaurant’s $500 Collezione menu -- which would give a group of diners (just one party per service) the most immersive Del Posto experience, with Ladner himself actually carving the pasta tableside -- the lasagne now falls under the “primi” section on both the regular lunch and dinner prix-fixe menus. It’s still the restaurant's most talked-about dish, bringing both tourists and locals alike into the restaurant and making normal dinner-hour reservations nearly impossible to get.
That the lasagne has stayed so relevant is hardly surprising -- it fits squarely into the Instagram-fueled food trends of the last five or so years (comically massive, picture-worthy, carb-heavy foods).
To make it, 50 ultra-thin sheets of fresh-cooked pasta are coated in 50 alternating layers of homemade Bolognese, marinara, and béchamel-like, cheesy cream sauce before the mountain of lasagne gets sliced, seared in clarified butter, and served on top of more marinara. Carved into a rectangle and placed on your plate, the lasagne looks a lot less overwhelming than it sounds -- but once you begin to cut through each delicate layer after layer, the crazy ambition behind it becomes apparent. Even as newer, more affordable Italian spots like Lilia and Barano continue to multiply over the city, there’s yet to be a pasta dish that rivals the 100-layer lasagne’s ability to be at once homey and ridiculously over-the-top.
If you can't get yourself to the restaurant to try it yourself (or can’t spend the money), the good news is, you can make the 100 layer lasagne at home using The Del Posto Cookbook -- and check out the video above to see all 100 layers in action.
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