Orange Coast Magazine

Taste of O.C. | Priscilla Mayfield on food


Layers of Mystery in Our Dining Critic's Lasagna

No answer to the Italy-or-China pasta question, though

As you can imagine, even a restaurant critic who likes to cook doesn’t get the chance that often. Oh, how we pity those folks who eat in one fabulous restaurant or another practically every night, right? Actually, the unfortunate truth is not every restaurant is fabulous, and critics sometimes crave a home-cooked dinner at their own quiet table.

The other day, Orange Coast’s Gretchen Kurz  mentioned she’d been cooking a bit lately, including a lasagna with a secret ingredient that made all the diff. It won’t be so secret after I reveal it here, of course: Kurz used egg roll wrappers for the pasta, layering them into her pan with sausage-enriched red sauce, provolone, and Parm. It was an experiment, but we’ve all seen enough won-ton-wrapper ravioli to guess that it probably was a good bet for success.

And so it was. She was able to build six thin layers, and the pasta sheets got tender and completely cooked through in about 35 minutes at 325 degrees. Unlike the smaller won-ton or gyoza skins, egg roll wrappers, which Gretchen buys at her local Albertson’s, are large enough to fit perfectly into a baking dish without too much overlap.

Our dining critic reports that her boyfriend John’s reaction was, “This is the best thing you’ve made in at least six months.” Which doesn’t account for that many dishes, she points out, given her limited cooking time. John’s in good company, though—I mean, who doesn’t love lasagna? Not to mention a worthy shortcut that could make it happen more often.

(And the secret’s definitely out—the rosemary chicken egg roll wrapper lasagna in the photo was one of Pinterest’s top food pins last year; click here for the recipe from


Leave a comment:

· Subscribe to comments
Be the first to comment here.

OC Guides


OC Guides
  • Best of 2014: Nutty Brûlée

    No one can resist breaking into the sugary crust of crème brûlée, and this one packs an extra surprise with its abundance of silky-smooth chocolate-hazelnut custard below—thanks to the addition of Nutella. This sinful dessert is incredibly rich and best shared with a friend. $8
    704 E. Balboa Blvd., Newport Beach, 949‑673‑7173,

    Read More
  • Best of 2014: Honey Bee Chicken

    You’ll fall in lust with the chicken pieces at BBQ Chicken at Diamond Jamboree in Irvine. Fried in olive oil for a crunchy exterior, they’re tossed in a sweet honey sauce making them all the more delicious. $11 to $21

    Read More
  • Best of 2014: New York Pizza

    Seal Beach’s A Slice of New York makes pizza the way it’s supposed to be—with a thin, chewy crust that oozes cheese and can be enjoyed the New Yawker way: folded in half.
    142 Main St., 562-493-4430,

    Read More
  • Best of 2014: Bird-Watching

    When the throngs of beachgoers are too much, spend a day with the birds. Here, with the wind whipping off the ocean and herons, egrets, ducks, and more soaring above, you'll get a chance to be the amateur ornithologist you never knew you wanted to be. Free
    3842 Warner Ave., Huntington Beach, 714-846-1114,

    Read More
  • Best of 2014: Green Cleaners

    Sold from her website and a refitted retro travel trailer, these earth-safe cleaning products are Marilyn Nowak of Coto de Caza's propriety formulas. Products for laundry, surfaces such as glass and wood - even an ecological drain cleaner - all have dispenser bottles and bulk refills $8 to $48
    Resuming in September at Great Park Farmer's Market, Sand Canyon Avenue and Marine Way, Irvine, 949-292-1648,

    Read More

Expert Advice from Orange County's GrapeRadio Hosts
wine blog

stuff we love

Charitable Events Calendar