Thursday, April 09, 2009

Mangia!

I am going to tell you about lasagna tonight. Lasagna is very good and I'm certain that many of you enjoy a nice, steaming plate of it every now and again. I happen to have been eating it all week. It's not really my normal topic of blogversation, though.

But I'm stuck. I could chat about the knitting if I thought anyone was interested in the 1/100000th of a inch that I have knit since last we spoke. (And why would you be?) The cats are always good for material, but they have been pretty quiet today so that's not interesting. And work? The joys of teaching? Not a good idea.

Were I to even begin describing this day, there would be a black van screeching up to my doorstop before bedtime. I would be hastily bundled into a sack and transported to a bland hotel room in an undisclosed location where I would be subjected to the less-than-gentle ministrations of the deprogrammers while they doggedly tried to help me understand how my career choice is killing my spirit.

You'd call them. You'd do it in a heartbeat. And then who'd feed the cats? We are talking about the lasagna. That is final.

A couple of weeks ago, I found myself saying, "My gracious, Sheepie! How long has it been since you made a nice lasagna? Why I can't remember the last time we did that! I do believe it is time to make one!" I hastened to the store to purchase the fixings for just that very thing.

I wanted to make a veggie version, so I purchased peppers, onions, zucchini and all sorts of other very healthy things from the produce department. I combed the noodle aisle for just the right pasta and found a sauce I thought would work nicely. (I thought about making sauce, but that was just ridiculous...) I purchased some nice mozzarella, but decided to forgo the ricotta. I knew that the lowfat cottage cheese wouldn't be quite as tasty, but that it would be a perfectly acceptable substitute, not to mention healthy.

I am, after all, a master lasagna maker.

I then put away all the ingredients and lost interest. It was a week before I remembered that lasagna stuff. I figured it would be kind of silly to waste all that shopping time so, last weekend, I proceeded to build my lasagna. As I said earlier, I couldn't remember the last time I'd made it, but I figured it would all come back to me.

And it did. I roasted all the veggies to bring out their succulent flavors. I boiled the noodles to a perfect state of al dente goodness. I lightly scrambled an egg to mix with the cheeses so as to give them the perfect, creamy texture. Before long, I was in the zone and singing a hearty Italian ballad which, loosely translated, described the joys of strolling through the vineyard with my one true love. Or how no one loves you like your mother. Or something like that. I don't actually speak Italian...

There I was, with the makings of the perfect lasagna all ready to go, with nothing left to do but assemble this masterpiece, and all of a sudden it hit me. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I combed my motor memory file, hoping that the muse which had carried me this far would return, but nothing happened. I attempted to recreate a visual picture of the last time I had done this and saw nothing playing on the inner-mind-screen. It struck me full force, like a Maserati flying down the road at top speed...

I have never once before in my entire life made a lasagna. Ever.

By now, I was committed to the project. I had chopped, roasted, boiled and sung lustily. There was no going back. I dug through the trash to find the noodle box and read all about how to put this mess together. I then discovered that I was supposed to have tin foil with which to swaddle my lasagna and there was none of that to be found anywhere. But, as I said, it was too late for that. You can't look back once you've boiled all your noodles. I tossed a silicone liner over the whole mess and heaved it in the oven. Since I was going to be reheating it most of the week anyway, I figured I could cook it for a shorter period and perhaps limit the burning of my cheeses.

That didn't exactly work out. There was some cheese darkening. But not so much that I cared. As it turns out...







I actually can make a lasagna. Who knew?


I also had some edge drying, but that part got softer after it sat in the fridge under plastic. All in all, I succeeded in making the lasagna that I decided I should make again for the first time. I have no idea how I ever got the idea that I'd made this before. I know that I've eaten it. And I suppose I've seen it made. But how do you forget that you haven't done something? How do you lose a memory that never existed?

I think I may be channeling my inner Italian. I have been thinking about doing it again with some nice, fresh pasta. I used to make pasta. I think. I have a pasta machine. One would assume I've made pasta since I have the machine. I even have a clear memory of piling up the flour on the counter and making that little "well" in the center to put the egg, oil and water. I swear to you I've done this before.

I think...

SA

15 comments:

trek said...

It probably is best at this point to avoid talking of school. Just one more day of soldiering on and you will have a glorious holiday weekend all to yourself.

Why ruin it with thinking about school?

Nice job on the lasagna.

I'm going to make a cheesecake this weekend. In the past, when cheesecake was required, I went to the local diner (which has excellent cheesecake) and purchased one.

This time, I am going to make it. Why? Because my little sister made one for pre-Easter dinner last weekend and it was really good and she gave me the recipe she got off these here Interwebs and who knew she could bake a cheesecake?

If she can do it, I can do it.

After all, I can bake some seriously good bread and I know for a fact that she can't so if she can cheesecake, I can cheesecake!

Kath said...

I am terribly impressed with the roasting of vegetables and adding the egg! The only lasagna I ever make is of the "Fake It, Don't Make It" kind, where you use layers of large raviolis. Not authentic - but it worked!

Carrie K said...

Clearly you're remembering a past life a la Sophia Loren. Or Capucine. She sang, didn't she?

Mouse said...

Mmmmm... I'm coming to your house for dinner - I'll bring some homemade bread! I love lasagna.. doesn't matter what kind it is, I still love it. Just so you know.. I make my own tomato sauce and its so super easy that its stupid. I use 1 can of tomato paste, 1 can of diced tomatoes (you could use the kind with the basil or the garlic/onion or just the petite chopped if you aren't partial to chunky bits) and I usually brown some ground beef and throw it in there.. mix it around, season to taste (usually some sugar helps but my family likes a sweet sauce) and add some water if it looks too thick. I usually cook it as long as it takes for the pasta to be done.

Mel said...

I love me a lazagnag. Now you've got me thinking I need to make one soon. Of course, I have some serious experience with the form, but as you can see, they're not turrible difficult in the end.

Mizzle said...

Maybe you've seen it on tv? I had that in Romania last summer... I went to places that I'd seen before, and I wasn't sure whether I'd actually been there the previous time in Romania, or whether it was the Vlad Dracul special on discovery channel...

Still, for you to have never made lasagna and just know to roast the vegetables, boil the pasta al dente, etc... That's quite amazing! :D

Did it taste as excellent as it sounds?

verification word: suppi - perhaps it's Italian for supper? :)

Julie said...

Cottage cheese in lasagna - my Nana would be rolling over in her grave if she heard that! Do you know that you can get fat-free or low fat ricotta (if that's the reason for the cottage cheese). I love making lasagna and often make it for holidays. I use LOTS of ricotta - YUMMY.

catsmum said...

my elderly Italian MIL has never in the 35 years I've known her,shared her lasagne recipe with anyone - but I know it has mozzarella and pecorino in it - and she was horrified when Nadie and I unvented a vegetarian lasagne of our own.

and if school today was bad enough that you don't want to discuss it compared to how it's been all week - well - I think you need to run not walk to the nearest psychiatric facility and throw yourself on their mercy

Mia said...

who can blame the "forgetting" with what you put up with every day..

but my GOSh does that ever look good! Glad you decided to treat yourself to something besides an apple :)

Karen said...

Your lasagna looks good. I think everyone can cook and those that think they can't are wrong. What are you going to make next?

Cursing Mama said...

Are you sure the pasta machine was for pasta and not something you got at the dollar store for use with those little blocks of clay from the hobby store? I remember Carol Duvall having guests that did a lot of neat things with that clay and a pasta machine...

Jeanne said...

OH, that looks so yummy. And you can eat off of it for days. My Mother used to make lasagna as well as pizza with her own crust. I tried making lasagna once. All my noodles broke, and I was too deflated to ever try again.

But you have inspired me to make that Lasagna-flavored Hamburger Helpless for dinner tonight. ;-)

kmkat said...

Sheepie, you are a hoot. Thanks for brightening my day.

Rabbitch said...

I have four looms. I don't weave. It's entirely possible that you don't make pasta.

I have a vacuum cleaner ...

'nuff said.

Beth said...

It looks delicious!