Friday, September 10, 2010

Guest Chef: Debbie Creates Red and Green Lasagna

I would like to welcome Debbie to 5 Bowls of Soup! She decided to bite the bullet and make a fancy schmancy dinner last night. It looked so beautiful in the photos, I asked her to write about it. Here is Debbie's account of her kitchen project last night. I wish I had been there to take tons of photos. This one is a beauty...

Hello Foodies! Marji kindly has invited me to guest-blog about my most recent (and, let’s be honest, only) kitchen creation: Rachael Ray’s Red and Green Lasagna. Ever since I got my Cuisinart food processor I have been going on and on about wanting to make this recipe, and I decided to go for it for a nice Rosh Hashanah dinner. Instead of your standard lasagna layers, this one uses a spinach pesto (the green) and a roasted red pepper/sundried tomato marinara (the red). I have to say the end product was so pretty and very delicious, though the process was lengthy and the cost of ingredients was high. I was unable to find sundried tomatoes not in oil so I used ones packed in oil instead, but I was able to stretch the tiny jar by using the oil to sauté the onions, which added a nice depth of flavor. The recipe called for a whopping 2 pounds of fresh spinach, which I realized too late would not all fit in to my food processor bowl at the same time. I ended up having to puree the spinach in batches while my red sauce was simmering on the stove, which resulted in an overly-reduced sauce since the process took way longer than expected. I substituted part-skim ricotta cheese for the filling and a 2% mozzarella/provolone mixture for the topping to make it a bit healthier, though I was unable to find no-boil whole-wheat noodles, which was a bummer. Despite being fairly skimpy on the red sauce, the lasagna was rich without being too cheesy—I think the spinach pesto did a nice job of cutting the cheesiness with a fresh flavor. At first I didn’t think this meal was worth the price of ingredients, but this recipe makes A LOT of food so I think it will last us awhile. Overall, I definitely recommend this meal but I would try making the spinach pesto ahead of time since I don’t know many people who have food processors or blenders big enough to hold 2lbs of spinach at once, and maybe using extra crushed tomatoes to ensure a saucy dish.

Using his own rating system, Dan has rated this meal 4 bowls of Cocoa Puffs, having lost 1 bowl for not having enough red sauce (which he fixed by adding some Trader Joe’s marinara on the side).

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