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Arsip Tag: vegetable
Last year, I proudly announced my intentions to host a Friendsgiving dinner for our crew and we would do it up. About 15 minutes later, I remembered that I had an infant and a zillion other less cute things on my plate and came to my senses. This year, I am a woman unwaveringly of my word, and I have 9 days to get my act together.
Ina Garten (pause for reverence/praise-hands emoji) is here to save me, though, as she has a new cookbook out. Maybe you’ve heard about it? This one is about all the favorites she’s cooked for her husband over the years, which sounds of course terribly old-fashioned and yet, perhaps I’m just feeling a little extra sappy* this week, but it’s hard to find the gesture itself anything less than unambiguously lovely. “There’s nothing more comforting than walking into a house that smells like there’s a roast chicken and onions or a homemade apple pie in the oven,” Ina writes in the introduction, and talks about the way having people around the table creating “a community of friends that take care of each other,” which, for her, is the whole point of cooking. Needless to say, this ties neatly into holiday themes.
On Thanksgiving, however, I am of one singular stance: Team Casserole. I don’t just mean green beans (but, ahem, if you’re looking for un-goopy ones…), but basically anything that is baked in a large dish is often something that can be cooked long in advance, reheats and even holds heat well — essential when I have not even close to enough oven space to heat multiple dishes at once — is preferred over dishes that do not (last-minute sautés, roasting vegetables on sheet trays, etc.) Gratins are at the top of this list, and while there’s no rule that they all need to be swimming in cream and cheese, I think one rich one makes everyone happy. This gets my vote. It showcases a range of root vegetables but none that I don’t like (coughbeets) and tastes fantastic. It feeds a crowd and keeps really well. It smells amazing too, the kind of aroma that envelops you when you walk into the apartment and makes you feel, however briefly, like you are exactly where you were meant to be and maybe everything will be okay.
* The U.S. election season began 19 excruciatingly long months ago and maybe you noticed, maybe you didn’t, but I don’t talk about politics here, or really most places because
a) nobody’s mind has ever been changed by a political post on social media,
b) you don’t need to a mad scientist to deduce what my leftie/pinko/femi-nazi/riotgrrl views are and
c) political discussions bring out the worst in people and I rather like you all.
The last is the big one. One of the possibly-weird things I think about all the time with this site is hospitality — and I don’t mean schooling others on it because I am so not that kind of domestic diva. Mostly, I mean trying to be as good of a host in this space as I can be. My hope is that this site could be a place where people who want to talk about cooking or are hungry to make something new or different or better or bored enough at work to listen to me prattle about some of my breakfast/dinner/cake theories might come to hang out.
Or maybe, if I could have such hubris to hope for this, it could be also a respite from the rest of the chaotic web because there are no “wild wests” here, I am inside that comment section every single day fielding all the questions and concerns I can. Perhaps because I do so from my living room, I don’t necessarily differentiate it from what I’d want to happen there too. Nobody’s going to tell you you have to buy fancy butter or xyz brand of anything to make a recipe work. Nobody’s going to judge you if you use storebought broth or take any and all shortcuts that work better for you. Why should this judgement-free zone end with cooking? You could argue political stakes, especially these, carry a bit more gravitas than butterfat percentages, and you’d be absolutely correct, but that brings me back to A. Nobody would leave here happier than they arrived or likely with what they came for and then there would be less breakfast/dinner/cake for all of us.
This is all to say that on a personal and family note, it’s been a sad, rough week. But one thing I can easily change how well I understand things next time. For me, the next step looks like this.
One year ago: Apple Cider Sangria
Two years ago: Sticky Toffee Pudding
Three years ago: Perfect Uncluttered Chicken Stock
Four years ago: Granola-Crusted Nuts
Five years ago: Baked Pumpkin and Sour Cream Puddings
Six years ago: Upside-Down Cranberry Cake
Seven years ago: Moroccan-Spiced Spaghetti Squash
Eight years ago: Pepita Brittle
Nine years ago: Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes with Sauteed Apples
Ten! years ago: Not Your Mama’s Coleslaw
And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Crispy Tortellini with Peas and Proscuitto
1.5 Years Ago: Liege Waffles
2.5 Years Ago: Fresh Spinach Pasta
3.5 Years Ago: Japanese Vegetable Pancakes
4.5 Years Ago: Warm, Crisp and a Little Melty Salad Croutons
I consider this at its core a classic red sauce and ricotta lasagna recipe, the kind you make for friends and family, the kind you make two of at once so you can freeze the other. If you like your lasagna on the very cheesy side (this is cheesy, but not heavily cheesy), you might increase the mozzarella to 1 1/2 pounds. I buy mozzarella that’s been packaged tightly in plastic, not the kind in water, for baked pastas. For the 4 cups of diced vegetables, use what you can get or what you love. I got about 2 cups from 8 ounces of sliced mushrooms (that I further diced) and 2 cups diced fennel (from a medium bulb). I’d definitely use peppers, zucchini, eggplant, or even broccoli here too.
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 large yellow onion, diced small
- 4 cups small-diced (about 1/2-inch pieces) vegetables (see Note)
- 5 ounces baby spinach or another green you like, roughly chopped
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- Red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- Handful chopped fresh basil (optional)
- 1 pound dried lasagna noodles (not no-boil type)
- 1 pound (2 cups) whole milk ricotta
- 1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)
- 1 pound coarsely shredded low-moisture mozzarella
- 1 cup (4 ounces) finely grated parmesan
Vegetables and sauce
Make the sauce: In the same pan, heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add garlic, a couple pinches of red pepper flakes and up to a full teaspoon if you want it spicy, and oregano and cook together for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the garlic is just barely golden. Add tomato paste (save the can) and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, don’t worry if it seems to be drying out. Add two tomato paste cans of water (a total of 1 1/4 cups) and stir up any stuck bits, cooking until smooth. Add canned tomatoes, 1 teaspoon salt and basil, if you’re using it. Simmer mixture together for 4 to 5 minutes; adjust seasonings to taste. You’ll have 4 cups of sauce.
Assemble lasagna: Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Place lasagna noodles in a large bowl or baking dish and cover with the hottest tap water you can get. Soak for 10 minutes. Mix mozzarella and parmesan. Mix ricotta with heavy cream, if you want to keep it as creamy as possible (skip cream if this doesn’t bother you) and season the ricotta with some salt and black pepper.
Coat a 9×13 baking dish at least 2.5 inches deep and ideally 3 inches deep lightly with oil or nonstick spray. Pour 1/3 cup of sauce into the dish and spread it evenly across the bottom. Shake water off noodles and arrange your first layer of noodles, slightly overlapping their edges.
Dollop 1/4 of the ricotta (about 1/2 cup) over noodles and spread it in an even layer with a spoon or spatula. Add 1/4 of vegetable mixture, then about 1/5 of mozzarella-parmesan mixture (just eyeball it). Pour a scant cup (more than 3/4 cup, less than 1 cup) of sauce evenly over cheese. Place next layer of noodles on top. Repeat this process (1/4 of ricotta, 1/4 of the vegetables, 1/5 of the mozzarella-parmesan, scant 1 cup of sauce) three times, using up all but the mozzarella-parmesan mixture and about 1/3 cup of the sauce.
Place final layer of noodles on top, spread the remaining sauce thinly over it and scatter the top with the remaining mozzarella-parmesan mixture.
Bake lasagna: Cover a large tray with foil (for easy cleanup) and place baking dish on top of it. Lightly coat a piece of foil with nonstick spray and tightly cover baking dish with foil, oil side down. Bake with the foil on for 30 minutes, or the pasta is tender — a knife should easily go through. Remove foil (carefully, so carefully) and bake for another 20 minutes, until lasagna is golden on top and bubbling like crazy. Keep it in the oven another 5 minutes for a darker color.
Wait, then serve: The best lasagna has time to settle before you eat it. When it comes out of the oven, it might seem like it’s a sloshy mess, but 45 minutes later (mine is always still very hot, but you might need less time in a cold kitchen) it will be glorious — the excess water absorbed into the noodles and filling, and ready for a relatively clean slice.
Serve in big squares.
Do ahead: Leftovers should stay in the pan. I like to reheat lasagna with the foil off because I like it when the top gets very dark.
Remove from heat and squeeze the juice of half the lime over the mixture, then the second half if you like more. Let cool slightly while you get ready to assemble your burritos.
Assemble your burritos: If your tortillas are unbendy from the package, you can warm them briefly in a dry skillet or for 15 seconds in the microwave to soften them. If they seem dry, I might spritz them lightly with water before warming.
Arrange first tortilla on counter and spoon about 3/4 cup of the filling in the lower third, closest to you. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup jack cheese and 2 tablespoons cotija. (If you like to make some burritos spicier than others, you can shake hot sauce on at this point.) Fold the bottom of the tortilla over the filling, fold in the sides, and roll it up, setting it to cool seam side-down. Repeat with remaining tortillas, filling, and cheese.
To eat right away: Go for it! but I love to brown it in a pan on both sides for some added texture and to ensure the cheese gets melty. Heat a skillet with a thin layer of oil over medium heat and add burritos you’re ready to eat. Cook until browned and crisp on both sides and dig in.
To freeze for later: Wrap burritos individually in foil (best for oven reheating) or plastic and pack in a freezer bag with all air pressed out. Burritos keep in the freezer a few months, or for as long as your freezer allows them to without imparting a “freezery” taste.
To reheat from frozen in an oven: Heat oven to 375°F. Heat foil-wrapped burrito for 40 to 50 minutes. To check for warmth, stick a toothpick or skewer into the center of a burrito and keep it there for 10 seconds. If the toothpick is warm when it’s remove, the burrito is too. If not, give it more time.
To reheat from frozen in a microwave: Unwrap burrito and microwave on a plate for 3 to 5 minutes, turning over once midway. To check for warmth, stick a toothpick or skewer into the center of a burrito and keep it there for 10 seconds. If the toothpick is warm when it’s remove, the burrito is too. If not, give it more time.
Both methods: For that extra crisp once warmed, follow the skillet instructions under “To eat right away” above.
- Chili powders tend to range a lot in heat level so give it a taste before you start to make sure you’re not surprised after adding the first 2 teaspoons.
- Depending on the size of my tortillas, I sometimes end up with 1 to 1.5 cups extra filling. You can use it to make more burritos or just heat it up with extra cheese and put an egg on top, and I did with delight last week.