Saturday, September 15, 2012

It should not be this hard.

I have a handful of foods that I just can't master handle even begin to not utterly fuck up. And they're basic, too. Bacon, for example. Either completely burned or completely uncooked. I can't flip fried eggs to save my life. (Actually, breakfast foods in general tend to get the best of me).

Lasagna is another. It should be simple—sauce, pasta, filling, cheese, sauce, repeat, repeat, repeat. But for whatever reason, I can't deal with it. It's either too wet and falls apart, or I don't put enough sauce and it's dry and blech. I just...I can't do it, I don't know.

Anyway, that was just a tangent. What I intended to start with was that my little food processor has had quite the workout today.

I'm making all of E's food, so I figured I'd try and get a head start on the next with the help of the processor and some new ice cube trays, I'm now stocked up on peas, carrots, green beans, and sweet potatoes. (We're also very slowly moving through banana and avocado. Peas we love, sweet potatoes we love. Feet kicking, baby-bird mouth wide open, spoon grabbing L-O-V-E...avocado, on the other hand, gets a clamped lip. Will. Not. Eat. Cracks me up.)

But I also came across a recipe on Pinterest for a Veggie Pesto Lasagna that looked delish, so the first step was making some pesto. A little birdie (the internet) told me that the best pesto is a bit coarser than the store bought mush you generally find (and I usually make), but instead of chopping by hand (please), I just added a bit lot less olive oil and pulsed a bunch of times until it was nice and coarse.

It's not real scientific here:
A handful of pinenuts
A whole bunch of basil (maybe 2 cups? more?)
4 cloves of garlic, roughly sliced
About 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
Sea Salt (a good pinch)
Olive oil (2 tbsp or so)

Combine all in food processor. Use accordingly.

Accordingly, in this case, is about 1/3 of a cup, so I have a ton left. I'll figure something out. But holy hell, my lasagna finally turned out. Even though I had to use cottage cheese instead of ricotta (don't ask why I was doing my cheese shopping at Target) totally worked.

Veggie Pesto Lasagna
12 no-cook lasagna noodles
1 jar marinara (I used a tomato basil)
2 cups cottage cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/3 cup pesto
Thyme (about a tsp)
Oregano (about a tsp)
Sea salt
Fresh mozzarella, torn into small pieces
Olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup shredded zucchini
Chili flakes to taste (I used a 1/2 tsp or so)
1 package baby spinach

Preheat oven to 375.

Saute garlic, onion and zucchini until soft. Add chili flakes, and gradually add spinach until wilted. Remove from heat.

In large bowl, combine cottage (or ricotta) with the parmesan, pesto, thyme, oregano, and salt.

Coat baking dish (I used a 9x13) lightly with cooking spray. Pour enough sauce to very thinly cover the bottom (1/2 cup or so). Arrange 4 noodles to cover (break off the corners if you need them to fit better). Spread half of the cheese mixture across the noodles (make sure and cover them all to make sure they cook well), then half the spinach mixture across the cheese. Arrange half of the mozzarella across. Top with 4 more noodles, and pour half of the remaining sauce. Repeat with remaining cheese, spinach, and mozzarella. Top with remaining 4 noodles and the rest of the sauce.

Bake for about 40 minutes, covered lightly with foil.

6-10 servings, depending on how you cut it.

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