‘In spite of all of the attention, no one quite got the joke, which made us sad.’ Photograph: Nik Sharma
Nutellasagna was an inherently silly premise, but while we admittedly are ridiculous people, we are highly serious when it comes to writing recipes. Naturally we began with pasta, which got fancied up with a light brushing of orange-infused brown butter. Tomato sauce was replaced with generous amounts of thinned-out Nutella, and toasted hazelnuts came in to bat for sprinkled parmesan cheese. Ricotta was always a switch hitter, so it got to cross over from savory lasagna with the addition of creamy mascarpone, powdered sugar, and whipped eggs. Finally, it was topped with a layer of bruleed hazelnut marshmallow to add a bit of extra sweetness and a lot of “TA-DA!”.
Like every family’s lasagna, you should feel free to make this your own. Just do us a favor – if you decide to make this, especially if you’re a professional, tag us and give us a little credit. We may despise what it’s come to represent, but it’s still our baby.
For the noodles
20-24 oven-ready lasagna noodles (two boxes)
1 stick unsalted butter
Zest of one large orange
For the hazelnut layer
8oz chopped hazelnuts
½ tablespoon butter
Hefty pinch kosher salt
For the Nutella sauce
2 7.7oz jars Nutella
1½ cups heavy cream
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
For the cream
16oz mascarpone cheese
15oz ricotta cheese
1¼ cups powdered sugar
¼ cup whole milk or half and half
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon vanilla
For the marshmallow topping
4 egg whites
⅔ cup sugar
¼ cup corn syrup
2 separate pinches of cream of tartar
½ packet gelatin
¾ cup water
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon hazelnut extract (optional)
Begin by preparing the cream: using a mixer, beat together the mascarpone, ricotta, powdered sugar, milk and cornstarch extremely well until smooth, then beat in the eggs and vanilla. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Place the hazelnuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and toast until fragrant, about five minutes. Immediately toss with butter and salt; set aside to cool.
Cook the stick of butter in a medium saucepan over medium low heat until it turns a medium shade of amber. Remove from heat; add orange zest and stir well. Keep warm.
Fill a large baking pan or pasta pot with hot water from the tap. Add the noodles one at a time to prevent sticking. Allow to sit for five minutes until softened; drain into a colander. Place a large piece of parchment paper on your counter, about 2ft long. Using your fingers like a squeegee, wipe any excess water off each noodle, then lay on the parchment. Lightly brush the tops with orange butter.
Scoop the Nutella into a large heatproof bowl. Heat the cream to a near boil, then pour over the Nutella while whisking vigorously.
Brush a lasagna pan with orange butter, making sure the bottom of the pan is well coated. Layer noodles to cover, then pour on a thick layer of mascarpone cream, spreading with a spatula to even out. Next, grab the Nutella sauce and generously drizzle across the cream layer, then sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts. Repeat until you have used up all the ingredients, ending with a thin layer of cream on top. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake on the center rack of the oven for 45 minutes to an hour, until the top layer looks puffy.
Nutellasagna can be served hot, room temperature, or cold. If serving hot, make the marshmallow while the Nutellasagna is baking, then allow to rest for 15 minutes before proceeding. Otherwise, wrap well and place in the refrigerator or freezer until the day you’re intending to serve, as the marshmallow tastes best when it’s made the day of.
For the marshmallow: combine a half cup water, half cup sugar, corn syrup and a pinch of cream of tartar in a heavy bottomed saucepan affixed with a candy thermometer. Cook over high heat to soft boil.
In the meantime, beat the egg whites with a pinch of cream of tartar until soft peaks form, then add the remaining sugar and continue beating to a medium peak, then turn off the mixer in anticipation of the sugar. Sprinkle the gelatin over the remaining water to soften; set aside.
When the sugar reaches a soft boil, turn the mixer back on to medium speed. CAREFULLY drizzle in the hot sugar down the side of the bowl, going very slowly so that you don’t scramble the eggs. The marshmallow will gain significant volume during this step. Once all the sugar is added turn off the mixer, add the gelatin and salt, then turn it back on to medium-high speed. Beat until the bottom of the bowl is cool to the touch, about 10-15 minutes. Add vanilla and hazelnut extract, if using, and beat for an additional minute to incorporate.
Raise your oven rack up to the two-thirds high position, then preheat the broiler to high. Unwrap the Nutellasagna and, using an offset spatula, cover with peaks of marshmallow. Place under the broiler until brown and toasty, five to 10 minutes depending on your personal tastes. If desired, cover the top with additional Nutella cream and toasted hazelnuts before serving.
Allison Robicelli is a D-list celebrity chef, author, humorist, entrepreneur, and general polymath. Her work has appeared in Food52, Eater, Food Network, VH1 and other quirky corners of the food internet. She’s the author of the critically acclaimed cookbook/memoir Robicelli’s: A Love Story, With Cupcakes, which has been called one of the funniest food-related books of all time.
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