Monday, August 24, 2009

Planning ahead

I finally got to make that Pasta Caprese from cooking class a couple of weeks ago.

  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 large tomatoes seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • salt / pepper
  • 1 cup buffalo mozzarella chopped (get the best you can find, that has flavor to it)
  • 1 large bunch fresh basil chopped
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 box penne pasta cooked al dente

Cook pasta, rinse a little, drain then set aside. In a large bowl, mix tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, olive oil, cayenne, salt and pepper. Add pasta, basil and cheese and toss well. Serve with fresh baked bread.

Lasagna noodles drying a bit and awaiting assembly.

I usually make the red sauce like a bolognese with sausage. This time I used very lean ground beef. After tasting, I noticed that I prefer the sausage. I find that simmering a red sauce with ground beef for hours causes the beef to taste kind of chalky to me. Still good, but better with hot, mild or sweet Italian sausage.

I first put a small layer of sauce on the bottom before laying down a layer of pasta. On the first layer of pasta I added frozen chopped spinach and some shredded sharp cheddar cheese. I use sharp cheddar because I can taste it! Regular mozzarella; to me, has no flavor at all. At least the stuff we have at our store. Using buffalo mozzarella for two lasagnas would be very pricey, so I just change the cheeses around. I've used feta, smoked gouda and fontina in the past. It's all good.
I added another layer of pasta and then topped with ricotta cheese. I sprinkled a little parmesan, more sharp cheddar and a little sauce. Another layer of pasta went on top of that and then a full layer of sauce.
This is the extra lasagna for the freezer. It's not cooked, just layered. Over the sauce layer I put one last layer of pasta. I drizzled a little sauce (to coat the pasta), and a good helping of parmesan and cheddar cheese. This way, the top will get nice and crunchy.

Ready to eat! Now we have 3/4 of a large lasagna to eat for lunches or leftovers and a full one in the freezer for Chris to just pop in the oven. I also put the unused sauce in a container for him in the frig so that he could just boil up some pasta and add the sauce for dinner. If I am feeling generous, I may boil the pasta and put it in the frig for him too. Let's see how generous I am feeling come Thursday. :o)

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