Sunday, September 6, 2009

fall fare


The long, hot lazy days of summer are already becoming a distant memory as we gather school supplies, organize clothes closets, buy sweaters, all in preparation of the shorter, busier days ahead. I can't help feeling a bit apprehensive this time of year. I've had a great relationship with my daughter this summer, but it's bound to be altered as she enters 7th grade. The daily interaction with classmates has a way of altering a girl's personality. Then there's the addition of homework that will soon invade our world and turn our once quiet home into a battle zone.

It started raining sometime during the wee hours of Saturday and has continued off and on since. I haven't been motivated to go out and prop up the tomato plants, which have fallen over, heavy with green fruit. Bailey even needs a little push to go outside.


I did make this delicious comfort food yesterday, and I'm sharing the love with you...

comfort food

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
6 medium garlic cloves, pressed
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound sweet Italian pork sausage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream
Pureed tomatoes (about 6 fresh tomatoes, or one 28 oz. can)
Diced tomatoes (about 5 fresh tomatoes, or one 28 oz. can) drained of juice
1 3/4 cups ricotta cheese
1 1/4 cups grated parmesan
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
15 no-boil lasagna noodles
4 cups grated mozzarella cheese

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat until simmering, but not smoking. About 2 minutes. Add onion and cook until softened, but not browned. About 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. About 2 minutes. Increase heat to medium high and add ground meats, salt and pepper. Break meat into small pieces and cook until it loses its raw color. About 4 minutes. Add cream and simmer, stirring occasionally until liquid evaporates and only fat remains. About 4 minutes. Add pureed and diced tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer slowly until flavors are blended. About 3 minutes. Set sauce aside.

Mix ricotta, 1 cup of the parmesan, basil, egg, salt and pepper in medium bowl until well combined and creamy.

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

To assemble: smear the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish with 1/4 cup of the sauce. Place 3 lasagna noodles on top of sauce. Drop three tablespoons of the ricotta mixture down each noodle. Level by pressing flat. Sprinkle with 1 cup of grated mozzarella. Spoon 1 1/2 cups of the meat sauce over cheese. Repeat layering of noodles, ricotta, mozzarella and sauce three more times. Place the three remaining noodles on top of the sauce, spread remaining sauce over noodles, sprinkle with remaining cup of mozzarella and remaining 1/4 cup of parmesan.

Lightly spray a large sheet of foil with nonstick cooking spray and cover lasagna. Bake 15 minutes and remove foil. Continue baking until cheese is spotty brown and sauce is bubbling. About 25 minutes longer. Cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.

. . .

It helped make the rain palatable.

The chocolate chip cookies that Iz made helped too.


Susan said...

That lasagna looks to die for! And sounds a lot like my recipe, except for the cream. I've never used it in lasagna, but will try it next time. My FIL loves mine and I try to make it for him a couple of times a year.

What I really want to know is where did you get that pencil sharpener? Mine just kind of hacks them into weird points!

Cindy said...

hi Susan, a little cream can do amazing things to a sauce! you really must try it.

The pencil sharpener (X-Acto brand) is the old hand crank style I picked up at the office supply store. After buying several electric ones and being frustrated, I'm back to the tried and true type I had as a child.

jazgal said...

I'm big on a little bit of cream in a sauce - it is a magic addition. I can't wait to try out the Lasagna recipe - I want to try out Nonna's Noodles pasta for this one - best pasta in town!

I'm all for classic sharpeners too!

Cindy said...

Hi Kendra, I'm not familiar with Nonna's Noodles. Where do you purchase those?

jazgal said...

Nonna's noodles are available at the Beaverton, Portland and Hillsdale Farmers Markets - I think at Zupan's too. She makes them fresh weekly,and has wonderful spinach, Herb de Provence, tomato and lemon flavors, all with fresh market ingredients. YUM! I usually do them up with just a very light cream-lemon sauce - they don't need much else. I think you'd love them too.

Cindy said...

Kendra, those sound amazing! I'll be looking for them at the Hillsdale farmer's market this Sunday. Really good to know. Thanks!

jazgal said...

You Bet!

Lisa said...

Nice photos! I do love lasagna. I often buy it frozen for a quick easy dinner between the demands of being the family driver. This inspires me to get into the kitchen and make my own. You remind me that it can be very worthwhile!