Friday, January 20, 2006
I was feeling adventurous enough to attempt a big food project earlier this week. My schedule this semester is loaded on Tuesday and Thursday, so I have 4 day weekends and Wednesday off. This past Wednesday I was hit with the comfort food stick and decided to make lasagna. Now, I've made baked pasta dishes before and my mother's spinach lasagna which is nothing like real lasagna, but I'd never attempted a whole lasagna or homemade sauce!
I don't really use recipes so much as I try to remember things I've seen on the Food Network. Once upon a time, my favorite host, made a basic tomato sauce. He did a bunch of things to it, some of which I did to my sauce. I remember he started with carrots and onions and garlic (maybe celery too, but I didn't have any, so I didn't use it)chopped finely and added to olive oil with salt and pepper.
I cooked it for a bit and then added tomato paste and red wine followed by two big cans of tomatoes with their juices, oregano, thyme, basil, sea salt and cracked black pepper.
After a few hours of simmering, here was my sauce. Yummy.
I love Trader Joe's, but unfortunately they don't always have everything that you need to make lasagna. In my case, there was no ricotta cheese to be found. I had two options, cottage cheese or marscipone. The latter had the right texture but not the right taste, and the former had the right taste but the wrong texture. I bought the cottage cheese.
I put the cottage cheese in the food processor with some Parmesan and about two tablespoons of cream cheese and pulsed for a few seconds. The end product was something that was right on texture wise but slightly saltier than ricotta.
I added spinach and some more Parmesan as well as two beaten eggs. I now had my sauce and filling ready, and it was time to cook the pasta.