Despite the fact I have only a mild liking for it, today’s culinary adventure brings us to lasagna.
Reason being that I may have tasted very good veggie lasagna in the past although I can’t remember where or when – and also because after reading how it’s done it seems fairly simple. All the recipes advocate a kind of freewheeling style that I like and after I learned the basics I was all set.
And the basics are:
- You prepare two things: The filling and the cheese sauce. The filling can be veggies in my case, or it can be meat or fish of any kind cooked in a tomato base. In that sense you have a world of options even if you limit yourself to veggies. You can even make this as a kind of ‘refrigerator – cleaner’ dish, where you use the bits and pieces of veggies and meat you have left in the refrigerator from other dishes and mix it up to make lasagna.
- I opted for carrot peels and eggplant chunks cooked in a tomato puree made of tomatoes boiled until their skins come off then cooked in oil (fried really) with chopped garlic and onions.
- For the cheese I went with ricotta mixed with pesto.
- And that’s it basically. I used ready made San Remo Lasagna sheets which make this as simple as it can get.
Here’s what preparation looked like:
Here it is ready to be shoved in the oven. The mozarella on top look like that because I had to cut them like shavings as they were still solid from the freezer.
Forty or so minutes later:
Try not to mind some of the cheese that came off on the lower right when it got stuck to the aluminum foil.
- The lowest layer of pasta sheets were tough either from getting burnt or not getting cooked enough. I should have put more olive oil / tomato base on that area (the packaging said I should add a lot of liquid around it), and also should have cranked the oven all the way up. I was afraid of the dish spilling over mostly because I wasn’t familiar with what happens to pasta when heated (will it expand? contract?). Other than that it was really good though.
- I won’t use carrots again as I am not sure what that brings to the dish. Carrots when cooked become sweet and I almost never like sweet in dishes. I thought it was just to add volume so if that’s the case I’ll choose something else then. I’m interested in using pechay leaves because they’re nice and dark green. Pus their white parts become niche and mushy and the green parts retain crunchiness even when cooked.
- The ricotta plus pesto combination is absolutely fantastic. I almost finished it off tasting it before I could slather it onto the lasagna.
- I wanted a kind of sprinkling of small green bits and was gonna use some extra onion chives for that purpose but after I cooked it I saw said chives sitting inside the ref. I hate it when I forget stuff like that.
Overall I give myself a 7 out of 10, then add another point due it being my first time ;) It’s a fairly involved dish and takes some time to make so I’ll reserve doing it again for say, a long weekend. As I write this four hours later it’s halfway gone, so this should last us up until tomorrow at the most.