Paris Hilton has launched a cooking show and it's one of the most bonkers YouTube videos to surface in the past 12 months.
I say "cooking show" because that's what the former Simple Life star calls it, but the video is mostly Hilton clunking through drawers and throwing shade on utensils. "All these spoons are brutal" might be my favourite quote, but it's tight up there at the top. "Careful with your long hair because it can light on fire" is a bloody cracker, too.
Cooking With Paris premiered last week and features Hilton making what she calls her Infamous Lasagne. The dish is also referred to as "sliving" lasagne, which is a word coined by Hilton combining "slaying" and "living". Now you know.
Hilton cooks like a first-year uni student trying to feed 20 mates during a bender. At one point, the sometime DJ (it's true) attempts to use three egg flippers at the same time on a frying pan of mince, but not before handling the meat with fingerless leather gloves. The same gloves, mind, used to hold Diamond Baby, Hilton's pet chihuahua and "assistant chef". The video is wild.
Infamous Lasagne is as basic as it is huge. There's no bechamel, onion or wine and certainly no parmesan. "This looks like a disaster" is a common sentiment among the YouTube comments, but what if the internet is wrong? What if Hilton's red-sauce mountain is a triumph of deliciousness? What if she knows things about lasagne the rest of us do not?
Armed with an oven and nothing better to do, I set out to cook an authentic Infamous Lasagne. I've listed the ingredients and steps below if anyone else wants to make lasagne to Hilton's instructions, because holy guacamole Cooking With Paris is not easy to follow.
Step 1. Gathering
The ingredient list is displayed at the beginning of the video and details home cooks will need "lasagne noodles, garlic cloves, onion (optional), pepper, Himalayan salt, ricotta, shredded mozzarella, tomato sauce" and "meat (any alternative you prefer)". Hilton never specifies what kind of meat or how much, but the best I can tell it's around a kilogram of beef mince.
There are no measurements given for the other ingredients either, but after close Cooking With Paris analysis, I settle on one kilogram each of mozzarella and ricotta, and a litre of passata.
I use oven-ready lasagne sheets as Hilton suggests, as the heiress is super shirty about having to pre-cook the Barilla pasta her assistant has provided.
"I would recommend getting [the ones you don't need to pre-cook] because it's way easier – you just literally put them in the oven … and they taste amazing," she says. "But, whatever, today we'll settle with these. Sorry, Barilla."
There are a few close-up shots of Barilla products throughout the video, which leads me to suspect Cooking With Paris might be partly sponsored by the global pasta company. Oh well. Sorry, Barilla!
Step 2. Cheese blending
Heat the oven to 190C and find a large bowl to fold an egg through ricotta. Yep, surprise! You're going to need an egg, which wasn't one of the ingredients listed earlier. If you're vegan, Hilton says you can use a non-dairy cheese.
"You don't need to use cheese with milk. You can use organic cheese. There's almond cheese … there's soy. There's so many different types of cheeses now it's not normal, but it's cool."
Anyway, thoroughly mix the ricotta with an egg and stir through half the mozzarella. This cheese combination isn't unheard of in select American-Italian lasagnes, even if it does sound stodgier than Christmas pudding dipped in fondue. Here's a similar recipe I found on the Barilla website. Interesting.
Hilton takes to mince with a potato masher and barbecue flipper. Photo: YouTube/Paris Hilton
Step 3. Frying and mashing
Thwack the mince in a hot pan and use two egg-flippers or spatulas to make it "tan". Continue to follow Hilton's lead and add seven grinds of Himalayan pink salt, a very generous pinch of kosher salt and 11 grinds of pepper.
When the mince starts to brown and crumble, use a potato masher (yes) to press it into the pan and drain the liquid released through a colander and down the sink. (Please never actually do this when making a real lasagne.)
Step 4. Spritz
Spray yourself with Paris Hilton Unicorn Mist to escape the kitchen heat. Google tells me the mist is a rosewater spray and it costs $25 from Chemist Warehouse. To be honest, you can probably skip this step.
Step 5. Saucing
Once the meat is drained of its juices, add the tomato sauce. Hilton puts a separate pan on the heat to do this then seemingly forgets about it and continues to cook in the same one she has been using all along. How the stove hasn't caught on fire by this stage is anyone's guess and one of many questions I have about Cooking With Paris.
Hilton admits to never cooking in the kitchen before, so who owns the house? What is the name of the small dog that isn't Diamond Baby she almost steps on? Why is there a tea towel that says "Allergic to Bullshit" next to a Marilyn Monroe bust, next to the sink? Why does this video exist at all?
After adding the passata to the mince, Hilton realises she forgot to include two key ingredients. "I was supposed to chop these onions and garlic, but I feel like my lasagne should not have onion or garlic in it." OK, yep, fair enough. This doesn't stop Hilton from donning a pair of oversized glasses for the occasion.
"I actually brought these so if I was going to cut onions, I could wear them," she says. "It kinda helps with tears, or just, I don't know, ruining your mascara."
Step 6. Assembly
Infamous Lasagne is a carb-heavy beast layered with meat sauce on the base, then pasta sheets, cheese mix, pasta, meat sauce, pasta, cheese mix, pasta, meat sauce and the remaining mozzarella to finish.
I can't recall another lasagne recipe that involves so much pasta strata. Cheese (or better yet, bechamel) should be spread across the ragu before another lasagne sheet joins the party. Hilton's layering system is controversial at best.
Step 7. Baking
Cover the lasagne with foil and whack it in the oven. Cooking With Paris doesn't inform viewers exactly how long Infamous Lasagne will take to cook, but does recommend removing the foil after 40 minutes. I leave my authentic Infamous Lasagne in the oven for an hour and, to be fair, it doesn't look too bad by the end of it.
When Hilton takes her saucy slab out of the oven it looks like a margherita pizza with eczema. Another 10 minutes would not have been the worst idea to make it crunchy and golden in all the right places.
The writer's best effort to replicate Hilton's lasagne. Photo: Callan Boys
Step 8. Eating
Infamous Lasagne is … not very good. The oven-ready lasagne sheets are edible, at least, but need more sauce-based moisture to become anything close to enjoyable. The lack of herbs, spices, onion, carrot, celery, wine, parmesan and bechamel makes for terribly bland time and the cheese mix is a masterclass in clumpy stodge. Infamous Lasagne is even worse after a night in the fridge when it tastes like a pleather shoe dunked in meat pie. Irony is not a dish best served cold.
Analysing the recipe of someone who can't cook is like shooting bass in a barrel, sure, but there's every chance Hilton knows exactly what she's doing here. Good Food Magazine recipe writer Alison Roman had a few things to say about the video on Instagram last week and made this very valid point:
"If anyone so much as pipes up and says I should be nice and not make fun of this you are being PLAYED. Paris is the queen of this sort of ruse and this is her new frontier."
Indeed. And I have $5 riding with a mate on a meatloaf recipe for episode two, so Cooking With Paris damn well had better continue. With 2.7 million viewers and counting, there's every chance it will.