Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Manufacturing Time

Walker: Like most, Dana and I are busy people. Dana works and carries the Twins, and I go to school, work, and help Dana out as much as possible (I have the easy part).

Despite our busy schedules, we love to cook, and one of the goals we set for ourselves when I started law school was to eat together every night. To meet this goal, we both help each other out – I cook when she's busy, she cooks when I'm busy, and when we're lucky, we cook together. But lately, because she needs to rest (and turn sideways to reach the kitchen countertop), Dana has had to take a leave of absence from the kitchen.

So, with one cook down, I've been looking for solutions, and last Wednesday, I found one: Lasagna. The key here is spending time up front to save time later. Do the math – it's all about efficiency: 1 hour prep time = 8 meals, which equals 7.5 minutes per meal. Good luck! This is a great recipe...Dana couldn’t get enough of it.

Dana's Favorite Lasagna

Tomato Sauce
1 28 oz can organic whole peeled tomatoes
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 carrot, shredded
3 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
Salt & pepper to taste

10 oz bulk mild Italian pork sausage
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 bunch washed spinach

5 tbsp unsalted butter
¼ cup organic all-purpose flour
3 cups organic 2% milk
¼ tsp nutmeg
Salt to taste

1 cup fresh mozzarella, diced
¼ cup parmesan, freshly grated
¼ cup pecorino romano, freshly grated

1 lb lasagna (best quality you can find) or make your own

¼ cup breadcrumbs

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and fill a large bowl with ice water (ice bath) and set it to the side.

In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat until starts to smoke. Cook the onion, celery, and garlic until the onion becomes translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the carrot and the thyme and cook for 5 minutes longer. Next, rip each tomato into pieces and add them to the pot along with all the juice from the can. Incorporate all the ingredients, and allow the mixture to come to a boil and then reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, add salt & pepper to taste.

In a 10 inch sauté pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add the sausage and garlic and sauté until brown. Drain fat on paper towels and set aside.

Next, submerge the spinach in the boiling water for 15 seconds, and without discarding the boiling water, remove the spinach and place it in the ice bath. Once the spinach has cooled in the ice bath, drain the water and ice and dry the spinach as much as possible in between 5 to 10 paper towels. Refill the ice bath.

Preheat the oven to 400.

Cook the lasagna in the same pot of water used to blanch the spinach. When the noodles are al dente, strain the noodles and place them in the ice bath to refresh them. Once the noodles have cooled 5 minutes, strain them again, and let them dry in the strainer.

Now make the béchamel. In a medium saucepan, heat the butter until it starts to stop bubbling. Next, add the flour and whisk constantly until the mixture turns a nice golden brown. Then add the milk, one cup at a time, constantly whisking the mixture. Bring it to a boil and stir for one more minute and remove from heat, add the nutmeg, and salt to taste.

Now it is assembly time. Lightly oil your large lasagna pan, and add one layer of the noodles. Next add half the tomato sauce and then add another layer of noodles. Next add half the béchamel and spread evenly over the next layer of noodles. Continue with meat, noodles, spinach, noodles, rest of the tomato sauce plus a layer of the mozzarella, final layer of noodles, and then the rest of the béchamel. Spread the parm and the pecorino evenly over the top, and then do the same with the breadcrumbs.

Bake on the top rack of your oven for 20-30 minutes. Enjoy.

Posted by Walker Lockhart @ 9:04 AM

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Posted by Blogger Sue Swenson @ Wednesday, November 15, 2006 2:03:00 PM #

Or you could buy Simeks frozen!!

Posted by Blogger Sue Swenson @ Wednesday, November 15, 2006 2:06:00 PM #
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