I like these hotel pans for lasagna. This one takes two pasta planks side by side and is deep enough to stack pretty high.I refrigerated this one overnight and so managed to get it out intact onto the board. It made for easy slicing with my trusty bread knife. I have ricotta in this one, with added parmesan, an egg, garlic and onion powder, basil and oregano. I had planned for three layers of pasta but it looked like another layer would work although my ricotta mixture was dwindling. The top layers are skimpy on the cheese but I did top it with plenty of mozzarella.
I usually make this with ricotta as a base for shredded mozzarella, Parmesan, and provolone but decided to go with a bechamel this time just to see how it would work. I’ve been seeing the basic white sauce used in a few different lasagnas prepared on one of my TV cooking shows. I made one with 4 cups of milk and stirred the cheeses into that and added the ricotta just for the hell of it. Made a ton of cheese sauce thinking I’d make two pans but my lasagna noodle count was off so I packed one pan, slightly larger than my usual, as full as I could. Still had leftover cheese sauce.Freshly made lasagna, still warm from the oven, will slump all over the plate. I let mine rest for a half hour but it still oozed all over. Here’s a nice slice that’s firmed up overnight in the fridge. The green is chopped spinach that went into the white sauce. The tomato sauce has sausage in it but this would be just fine without any meat added if that’s your preference.
I went to the pantry and found a quart of last year’s tomato sauce for a pasta meat sauce. I made quite a bit, adding a big onion, several peppers from the patio garden, Italian sausage, lots of minced garlic, and plenty of fresh herbs. We had it on spaghetti for lunch, leaving plenty sauce for a supper dish. TaMara’s cast iron purchase made me do this in one of my skillets. This 10 incher is just big enough for 8 ounces of cooked rigatoni with sauce and some mozzarella we had leftover from yesterday’s pizza.I noticed that a couple of the recipes I looked at called for assembling the dish in individual sized casseroles but I don’t have anything suitable so I used the pan I had. I discovered why the mention of individual portions – you need a helper with scissors to cut the mozzarella strings when spooning the pasta into bowls!
I forget what the name of the pasta type is, it had a slight bend in it and has ridges. We had it in a meat sauce with both beef and sausage along with some of last year’s tomato sauce. I think we are in winter’s last gasp – I have some chives starting to emerge in last year’s pot that I set out while the temps were peaking the other day. We missed the snow yesterday but it did cool off quite a bit from the 70s we saw Tuesday.
Were starting to think about the garden. We have plenty of tomato sauce from last year so we won’t plant more than just a few for eating fresh. Maybe. We always end with more than we planned on. Maybe go heavy on flowers this year?
Mmm… Stuffed shells
I dithered about what to do with the ricotta we made yesterday until Mrs J mentioned stuffed shells. Perfect!
I didn’t have that much ricotta so I knew I would have to stretch it out with other stuff. I never measured the ricotta but the recipe I used mentioned 1-1/2 cups could be expected and that was pretty close. I added a cup pf shredded mozzarella, half a cup of shredded Parmesan, an egg, about 1/4 cup of chopped parsley, some red pepper flakes, and some dried oregano and basil with a bit of salt and a grind of black pepper.
These were arranged on top of some tomato sauce in a casserole dish.
Then topped with more tomato sauce, this time with some meat, and the rest of the ricotta mixture and a sprinkle of Parmesan.
I covered it with foil and baked it at 350 for 30 minutes.
Then baked it for another 15 minutes, uncovered.
I will be making more ricotta. It’s easy, and the flavor and texture is better than any I have brought back from the supermarket.\
I made the sauce to go with these while I was still thinking basic boiled raviolis served in a tomato sauce of some kind. I had a nice meat sauce going, Italian sausage and some tomato sauce from last year’s garden. Had a small box of those brown mushrooms cooking down in olive oil and butter. Late in the prep for this I changed my mind and did the ravioli breaded and deep fried-“toasted” as it’s called. Just dip the thawed ravilois into an egg beaten with some milk, then dredge the coated pieces in some fine seasoned “Italian” bread crumbs. A few minutes in some 350 degree oil and they brown up nicely.
The usual presentation of toasted ravioli is as an appetizer, finger food to be dipped into a marinara sauce but I stuck to my previous plan and served them with a generous scoop of the meat sauce, some of the mushrooms, and a grate of Parmesan. I think it worked OK. I ate some with my fingers and used a fork to spread the sauce on them, others I speared and ate off the fork.
Dish TV HD Upgrade Update, and other stuff
The satellite tech finally made it to the house at about 3PM and I knew he wasn’t going to be finished at any normal hour. I was right, he finally left at 9PM after installing a new dish, running the coax (3 leads from the dish), trying to use some of my existing hardware, failing to get it to work, adding instead a newer multi-switch with more power (or something), unboxing 4 new HD satellite receivers and programming all of those, setting up the remotes, getting everything registered and authorized, the various HD settings made, a quick explanation of the programming quirks and several “how do I do this” answers and demonstrations. He was unfailingly polite and in much better humor than I would have been after all of that.
I have to say that the true HD pictures are really something. The latest “King Kong” was playing when the pictures started coming in and I was amazed at how detailed things looked. Later we watched local news and weather in HD. Some folks just don’t have faces for HD, all I’m gonna say.
So we were up late, we still need to program all the channels we actually might watch into a list so that we don’t spend too much time flipping through the program guide. And all those shows that we were recording on an ongoing basis have to be found and re-entered into the DVR. Hate to miss anything. LOL Alas, there must have been a hundred hours of stuff on the hard drive of the old DVR that we surrendered as a trade in. There’s probably a way to get that stuff off of the drives in these boxes but I don’t know of it.
Not much going on here today, trying to digest and recover from all the excitement yesterday. I’ve been making a sauce for some cheese raviolis Mrs J pulled from the freezer. Baked a couple loaves of bread. Pancakes for breakfast were good and welcomed by all. Jack particularly favors my pancakes. Annie jostles herself to the front of any line but Buddy will turn his nose up at any that are offered sans butter.