Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development
Chef Jamie Simpson uses new Barilla Lasagne Chef pasta sheets in three creative expressions to showcase its ability to carry trend-forward menu applications.
Chef Jamie Simpson uses new Barilla Lasagne Chef pasta sheets in three creative expressions to showcase its ability to carry trend-forward menu applications.

By Flavor & The Menu
January 24, 2022

Jamie Simpson

Jamie Simpson

Highly anticipated by chefs across the country, Barilla Lasagne Chef has arrived. These oven-ready, shelf-stable pasta sheets fit across a half hotel pan, making prep faster and easier with zero waste. To celebrate the arrival of this new foodservice product, we tapped Jamie Simpson, Executive Chef Liaison for the Culinary Vegetable Institute in Milan, Ohio. Known for his imaginative approach to ingredients, we asked him to choose three of Flavor & The Menu’s Top 10 Trends, then use Barilla Lasagne Chef as the foundation of each creation.

Simpson’s three modern takes on lasagne showcase pasta’s ability to carry many of today’s trends while still delivering the comfort and heartiness that diners know and love.

TREND #1: CHARCUTERIE

 
A surge in popularity with this shareable has sparked new innovation in the category, from new grazing board concepts to takeout-friendly charcuterie cones and boxes.

Proving lasagne’s versatility and capitalizing on its craveability, Simpson uses a terrine of lasagne as a centerpiece for a shareable charcuterie board. View the recipe here.Photo credit: Michelle Demuth-Bibb

Proving lasagne’s versatility and capitalizing on its craveability, Simpson uses a terrine of lasagne as a centerpiece for a shareable charcuterie board. View the recipe here.


The key to a charcuterie board’s success is the social aspect of it. Imagine ordering the charcuterie board…for one. I just cried a little. To bring pasta and charcuterie together I circled back to the nature of lasagne and the function of a mélange of cured meats artfully arranged on a board: community, togetherness, family. For this dish, I made one for the table. A flat terrine of sorts, on wood: the large lasagne sheets between artisan cheeses, whole-grain mustards, and hams—broiled, almost burnt, on top; a carving knife and an offset spatula for the people to sort out; complementary condiments, like hot honey, pickled vegetable relish, preserved fruit, tapenade, fresh herbs and breadcrumbs. From an operator’s perspective, the prep is done yesterday and the pickup is passive: ‘Fire this in the broiler and move on.’


TREND #2: SALT

 
Unique salt usage on menus including highlighting different varieties, like black lava and pink peppercorn, along with creative, strategic uses of salt.

In a display of elegant simplicity, lasagne sheets dressed with beurre monté are topped with salt-cured vegetables and leaves. View the recipe here.Photo credit: Michelle Demuth-Bibb

In a display of elegant simplicity, lasagne sheets dressed with beurre monté are topped with salt-cured vegetables and leaves. View the recipe here.


My world is generally focused around vegetables so the concept I explored is salt-cured vegetables—10% by weight. I used a mix of turnips, petite radishes, garlic, mustard greens and carrots. I cooked a single sheet of the Barilla Lasagne, then plated it on a large coupé. I made a sauce of the salt-cured vegetables with olive oil to completely cover the lasagne sheet, then topped it with a selection of halophytes, or ‘salt-tolerant plants’ like sedums, crystal lettuces and seaweeds.


TREND #3: MODERN GREEK

 
Modernized Greek is having its moment, fueled in part by the flood of Eastern Med menu inspirations and restaurant concepts.

For this inventive take on a modern Greek-inspired pasta dish, Simpson coats Barilla Lasagne Chef strips with bechamel, rolls tightly and bakes until crisp and browned. The pasta is topped with halloumi, olives and chickpeas. View the recipe here.Photo credit: Michelle Demuth-Bibb

For this inventive take on a modern Greek-inspired pasta dish, Simpson coats Barilla Lasagne Chef strips with bechamel, rolls tightly and bakes until crisp and browned. The pasta is topped with halloumi, olives and chickpeas. View the recipe here.


Greek food hits all the right buttons—it’s balanced, flavorful, healthy, satisfying, memorable and clean. Unlike many cultures, the food isn’t bound by its great grandmothers—it’s elevated by them. For this dish, the path is simple: tomatoes, eggplant, lemon, garlic, grape leaves, whitefish and manouri cheese. I rolled them into a tall ramekin with our ‘secret ingredient’ and baked until crispy. I topped it with a salad of sliced olives, green chickpeas, fennel, parsley, and a boatload of green olive oil.


Barilla Lasagne Chef: Designed for foodservice, these oven-ready, shelf-stable pasta sheets fit across a half hotel pan.

Barilla Lasagne Chef: Designed for foodservice, these oven-ready, shelf-stable pasta sheets fit across a half hotel pan.


To learn more, visit barillafs.com/lasagne

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