2.28.2011

The concept is this

Is anyone up for a lasagna today? I'm thinking a summer-in-the-winter, put-up pesto and tomato sauce and homemade bechamel type of gig. Takers? Yes? Ok.


There's only one hitch. I made this about a month ago, and although I can still remember the fabulous August brightness of the tomatoes and the way the pesto made me feel like maybe, just maybe it might be time for a pond swim that afternoon, I did not exactly write down the recipe. Not that I had a recipe to begin with, which is why I think this might be okay. The thing about lasagna is, you really don't need a recipe. You need to understand the concept, and the concept is this:

Find a box of noodles, the thick, flat kind with crinkly edges made for lasagna (or make some yourself). Get out a 9" by 13" casserole dish, and butter it up. Go down to your freezer, or open your pantry, and pull out a pint of that fantastic tomato sauce you made back when you couldn't even imagine the meaning of the words Wintery Mix. While you're at it, grab a half cup or so of the pesto you made with your neighbor's extra basil. Now root around in the fridge and hope for some milk, and butter, and mozzarella, and grab a few spoonfuls of flour and make a bechamel sauce. (Preferably this one, but if you have your own favorite, you just need a similar amount.)

At this point you could also get out some frozen spinach or pick some fresh from the greenhouse, and cook it down with a little bit of olive oil and garlic. Or maybe you have a freezer full of sundried tomatoes. Or, you could be into sauteed mushrooms. Whatever you're feeling here, go with it.


Finally, heat up a pot of water, add a pinch of salt, and boil those noodles. Now comes the hard part: drain the noodles, put them back in the pot, and drizzle some olive oil over them. The noodles will be hot, painfully hot, but if you're like me, you won't have any dishgloves so you'll go ahead and burn your hands, because you need to work quickly before they all stick together in a glob.

Spread a tiny blob of bechamel across the bottom of the casserole dish. Put a layer of noodles on top. Then a layer of tomato sauce, then more noodles, then maybe a few dollops of pesto and whatever vegetables you've got. Then another layer of noodles, and a smooth one of bechamel, and so on and so on. Until you've got a big, layered sandwich of tomatoes and noodles and pesto and vegetables and creamy, delightful sauce. Then, when you get to the top, layer on some slices of mozzarella and maybe even a bit of grated Parmesan.

And there you go. You've got yourself an oven-ready Winter-Into-Summer Lasagna. Happy Monday, everyone, and happy almost-March. Only 22 days until spring!

5 comments :

Siobhan said...

The talk of pond swims is killing me. I say we shoot for June 1? Or perhaps Memorial Day weekend if we get lucky.

Elspeth said...

count me in. although memorial day weekend, in my experience, is pushing it. (read: there will be a three-hour hot shower/down comforter period to follow.)

can't wait!

xoxo

Christine said...

Great idea, I'm in! I've got some freezer kale that needs eating. Thanks for your wonderful blog, btw.

Anonymous said...

Mmmm, sounds yum. Wish I had some already ready and waiting to be thawed and cooked.

My moms tip on noodles is to quickly rinse them with cold water. She put them in a drainer and layers them on a plate after they are dry, layering them a little. They never seemed to stick much at all- saves your hand from burning(-; I don't bother to layer them neatly, I just leave them in the drainer

Kate said...

I'm always on the lookout for a great, gourmet-style dish, and this one is definitely going in my recipe box!

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