Sunday, October 9, 2011
But I didn't name this dish Desperation Lasagna specifically thinking about the Old West, except for the fact that my work schedule has me running around so much that a patient observer might have been treated to the sight of tumbleweeds blowing through the virtual landscape of my much-neglected blog. Never fear, dear readers. Though I have taken other mistresses, writing for other sites, you are still my first love. But I digress. Desperation lasagna is actually sort of a euphemistic name. I also could have called it "kitchen sink lasagna," since I made free with the ingredients based on what we had around. For example, we didn't have mozzarella daiya, which is what I would normally use for lasagna, but we did have cheddar. Thinking about yellow and lasagna led me to sub other ingredients for those of a similar hue. Thus, I discovered that butternut squash and corn are actually quite delightful in a cheddary dish of lasagna in place of sausage and mushrooms. And why not? I already put all kinds of unconventional things in my enchiladas. Lasagna is the next logical step. I think if C could testify, he would tell you that it was quite delicious.
Finally, a note about the noodles. I don't precook lasagna noodles. Ever. In my view, it's a total waste of time and energy. And the no-boil lasagna noodles are a rip-off. Don't bother with them. Regular noodles work just fine without pre-boilng, so save your money for some beer and chocolate. That's what I do.
1 pkg lasagna noodles--I used brown rice because our new roomie has wheat issues, and I thought she might want some eventually, but any kind is fine. Just keep the quinoa away from me. It hates me.
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 pkg cheddar Daiya or Follow Your Heart cheese (Or go traditional and use mozzarella. See if I care. Or be totally crazy and skip the cheese altogether. You won't miss it that much.)
Ricotta -- Should I be calling this something clever, like "RiNotta"? Oh well.
2 pkgs tofu (28 oz total), extra firm
1/4 c nutritional yeast
1 T, heaping, dried basil
1/8 c olive oil
4-5 minced garlic cloves
Mash everything together in a big bowl, and set aside while you prepare your veggie filling.
2 T olive oil
1 pkg frozen butternut squash. (Normally, I would use fresh, but it's still pretty spendy in these parts--not quite yet in season--and I was [as usual] short on time. Sue me.)
1 c frozen corn kernels
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3-4 minced garlic cloves
1 head curly kale, chopped
Thyme and marjoram to taste
A few splashes of Bragg's
Saute onion in oil with garlic until translucent. Add squash and herbs and cook 2-3 minutes. Stir in kale and corn, add some Braggs, and cook until kale is softish and dark green. It can finish cooking in the oven.
Lightly oil a casserole dish. Open the can of tomatoes and spoon about 1/4 of them directly into the pan. Spread around to cover the bottom in a thin layer. Layer half the noodles on top. Don't worry if they need to overlap a bit. It doesn't matter, and what are you going to do with leftover lasagna noodles? Nothing. So don't waste them. Spoon 1/2 of the tofu mixture on top of the noodles, then cover that with half the veggies. Add 1/2 cup of water to the can of tomatoes and stir, then spoon 1/2 of that mixture onto the veggies. Sprinkle with 1/2 your cheese. Repeat with the second layer: Noodles, ricotta, veggies, tomatoes, cheese. Cover the pan with aluminum foil. This is an important step as it traps the moisture for the noodles to absorb instead of releasing it into the oven. Cook 1 hour and 20 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.