Thursday, August 14, 2014

Studio Eats: Lasagna

Why, in the (relative) heat of summer am I cooking up lasagna? I wondered that myself, and this recent curiousity and affection for what is normally a more winter dish started on chance and continues for reasons of taste and convenience. In a grocery, I spied some fresh lasagna sheets on sale. A studio mate had brought a rather large squash to the studio, and it needed to be used. I knew I had some other vegetables and bits in the fridge, so inspired by the lasagna sheets, I grabbed them up along with a jar of spicy pasta sauce.

I know not everyone creates free-form in the kitchen, and most people really, really like to see the comfort of a well thought out and tested recipe. I'm one of those people! I use recipes all the time, it's just that I might not use them to the letter. So while I can tell you what's in the lasagna, I'll have to make it several more times with the time and intention of measuring ingredients to give you a specific recipe. Many pardons for any frustrations, but I encourage you to give it a try:

Spicy Lasagna
Spicy Lasagna: For this version, here's what I had:

Fresh Lasagna Sheets (purchased from the refrigerated section)
Spicy Pasta Sauce (purchased in the jar, optional on the spice of course, and when time allows, homemade preferred of course!)
Leftover diced sweet potato
Leftover roasted corn, removed from the cob
1/2 large onion
4-5 large leaves of kale, chopped 
Leftover hamburger, broken into small bits
Goat Cream Cheese
Pecorino Romano
Goat Feta Cheese

I saute-ed the onion in olive oil, then added the leftover corn, sweet potato, and kale. As the onion and kale softened (the others were pre-cooked), I added about a half cup of the sauce and stirred to combine. 

In a small bowl, I combined about 1/4 cup of the cream cheese with about 1/4 cup grated Pecorino and 1/2 cup grated Goat Feta. This is a soft mixture.

I used one of my medium size bakers, cutting the fresh pasta sheets to fit the curve of the pot. My layers, in order from bottom up: Sauce/dots of cheese/pasta/sauce/vegetables/broken up burger/sauce/dots of cheese/pasta sheets/sauce/dots of cheese.

This pan of lasagna went into a cold oven, and then I turned it to 350F. About an hour later, you'll smell the lasagna and that's when you check it. If the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is browning, take it out of the oven and let it rest a few minutes before serving. 

*If you're paying close attention, you'll note that I completely forgot the large squash in the fridge, which was the original intent of that days lunch. But the lasagna was a very fine substitute!

I mentioned that one of the factors in my lasagna infatuation was convenience. It may seem like a lot of work, but if you do a little prep and have the right bits and pieces in the kitchen, the prep goes pretty quickly and then you can toss it in the oven and then 'poof!' you have lunch. Or dinner. And if you're really, really, lucky, like me, you have wonderful studio mates grateful for the meal who will clean up the kitchen behind you.

I like to spread the love between this blog and the website recipe blog, so if you'd like to see the 'guidelines' to the most recent pan of oozy goodness, check out my Crazy Green Studios Recipe blog.

Chicken Vegetable Lasagna

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