The day I arrived in Stara Pazova, I was dead tired from over 20 hours of flights and airport layovers. I hadn’t slept in nearly two days, and was in desperate need of a shower. And I was hungry. When I walked in the door, my cousin Daniela was in the kitchen anxiously awaiting my arrival. The first thing that hit me was the heavenly smell, almost like bread baking, and the second thing was a hug from Daniela. Both were warm and welcoming.
She quickly took the deep ceramic baking dish from the oven and served large portions of a white lasagna made with Slovak pancakes, palacinky. The slices were tall and multi-layered, and they held together well (not like mine, in the picture above).
It was quintessential comfort food to me, even though I had never tasted anything quite like it before. The meat was a bit more flavorful, the cheese a little tangier, the palacinky softer than traditional noodles. It was just what I needed after my long day of travel, and I think it might just might hit the spot when you are hustling home after a hard day at the office and there is a chill in the evening air. Serve with a shot of good slivovitz (or two) and a green salad. You’ll sleep like a baby. I did.
- 3 eggs, slightly beaten
- 1 cup Sparkling mineral water
- ¾ cup múka flour (all purpose)
- Pinch of salt
- 1-2 tbsp melted fat (butter, oil or lard)
- 3 tbsp Canola oil for cooking
- Mix all ingredients (except last) together and allow to sit for ½ hr – batter will be thin (slightly thicker than crepe batter)
- Pour a spoon of Canola oil in a medium sized frying pan and heat on high
- Pour ¼ cup batter into the oil and swirl around until the pan bottom is covered thinly
- After the bottom turns golden, flip the pancake over for 30 second or so
- Remove from pan and cook the remainder in the same way
- 6 palacinky, cooked
- 1lb ground beef
- 1lb ground pork (I used sweet Italian pork sausage)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cups grated white cheese – Slovak bryndza or Serbian tavora, or mozzarella in US
- Béchamel sauce (1/4 c flour, 4 c warm milk, ½ tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp salt, 5 tbsp butter)
- Favorite spices (Vegeta, pepper, paprika or curry)
- Cook the onion in a pan until soft
- Add the meats together to the onion and cook until no longer pink
- Place 2 palacinky in the bottom of a deep, greased ceramic pan, overlapping
- Spoon the meat and onion on top
- Sprinkle with 1/3 of the grated cheese
- Spoon over 1/3 of the béchamel sauce
- Repeat the layers starting with the palacinky two more times
- Sprinkle your favorite spice on top
- Bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees
You can make this in stages. Day one – make the palacinky. Day two – assemble the lasagne. Day 3 – bake for 45 minutes when you get home, if taken straight from the fridge.