Stained Glass Lasagna

Stained Glass Lasagna

  • Recipe(s): Open stained-glass lasagna with roasted squash (page 99)
  • Prep: Moderate
  • Taste: Good

On June 15, 2014 we made yet another lasagna recipe that resembles nothing of a traditional lasagna…well at least what I feel is a traditional lasagna. If you read my previous blog posting you’ll know what I’m talking about. To me, traditional lasagna conjures up an image of noodles, meat sauce and cheese, layered nicely in a pan and baked in the oven. There could be vegetables, such as mushrooms, peppers and onions, added to the meat sauce and a small layer of ricotta may also be included, but for the most part it is very simple. Is it me who has a weird view of what a traditional lasagna is?

Anyway, while this, to me, resembled nothing of a traditional lasagna, it was still pretty fun to make and tasted good in the end.

The prep for this recipe is a solid moderate. Not only do you have to make fresh pasta, which takes time, but you have the added step of creating the stained-glass, which, while laborious, was the coolest thing to do. To make the stained glass you have to roll your pasta out nice and thin and then put your herbs (we used sage, parsley and fennel tops) on one half and fold it over. You then put this back through your pasta roller to create the stained-glass looking pasta. It’s a really cool looking piece of pasta and would definitely impress friends at a dinner party.

In addition to making the pasta above, you also have to roast a squash. This isn’t particularly hard but it does take some time. The nice part about this recipe is that you are asked to keep the skin on the squash. Ninety percent of the time I would remove the skin from the squash before I cook it but in this case it wasn’t required. In hindsight, I think I would’ve removed the skin because it’s a bit difficult to mash up, which is what you have to do with the squash once it is cooked.

So, in the end, the dish was good. I really liked the cooked pasta and had we just served the stained-glass pasta with a nice brown butter sauce I think it would have been an excellent meal. It was nice and herby, which you would expect from the assortment of herbs used, and also perfectly cooked. It was nice and tender and not chewy, which I find you get with some store bought lasagna noodles. I was not too fussed with the squash. Like I mentioned before, it was difficult to mash the skins up with the rest of the flesh. If we were to make this again we’d definitely remove the skins.

All in all it was an good dish. It definitely looked better than it tasted. I would surely make these noodles again but serve them in a different manner. I don’t think I would use them for a traditional lasagna because the whole point is to see the noodles. Perhaps you could make them into ravioli and serve them with some wild mushrooms and a cream sauce? That actually sounds delicious, I’ll try it and let you all know how it turns out.

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Early Christmas Dinner

  • Recipe(s): The best roast turkey (page 194) & Creamy butternut squash (page 350)
  • Prep: Moderate & Easy
  • Taste: Good & Good

We have been waiting for this time of the year to make the turkey recipe from, ‘Cook with Jamie…’ We were going to save it for right around Christmas but thought that most people get inundated with turkey at that time, so we made it a few weeks ahead of the holiday, a prelude to the Season. We sent the invite out to my brother and sister-in-law, they accepted and the other night (December 6, 2014) we made a full turkey dinner.

Turkey
If you have ever made a turkey dinner before you know how much prep is involved. Not only do you have to prep the bird but you also have to make the stuffing that goes along with it. Well, this recipe was no different. In fact, there was actually more prep involved in this recipe than with others I’ve cooked. In addition to stuffing the bird, you also poke your pancetta-wrapped rosemary sprigs into the legs and thighs, which isn’t the easiest thing to do. Things are made all that much more difficult when you’ve attended a rockin’ holiday party the night before..!

The cooked turkey was good. The turkey itself was really no different from others I’ve had in my life but the stuffing was definitely unique. I’m used to stuffing that is heavy on bread but this one took it the other way and was heavy on pork sausage, which I’d never had in stuffing before. This alone made the stuffing quite different but the ingredient that really upped the anti was the dried apricot. These added a real sweetness that I’d never experienced in stuffing but was quite nice. This, combined with the saltiness of the pancetta (in the stuffing) and other spices, created a very different, yet tasty stuffing which helped to elevate the rest of the meal.

Squash
I did zero prep on the squash and also didn’t eat any of the finished product, so I am going off of what my partner told me about the recipe. The prep was rated on the high end of easy, not because of the skill required but rather because of the time required. You have to peel the squash, which isn’t the easiest task. Then you have to pick the thyme leaves, which has been one of our least favourite things this year. We love fresh herbs in our food but picking the leaves is always a pain. Anyway, then you mix the remaining ingredients together, which involved red chilies, light cream, grated nutmeg, chardonnay (yay!) and parmesan. So, while this recipe is rated easy, it is close to being moderate.

The cooked dish was good. It had all of the classic flavours for the holiday season; thyme, nutmeg, and sweet squash. It was a great addition to a turkey dinner. Not only did it taste good (so I’m told) there was also a lot of it. The recipe said it was enough for 4 people but we had 4 people and I think we only made it through half. It could have fed at least 6 big eaters, probably 8. Generally we’ve found this cookbook to be accurate with its estimates of how many people the recipe will serve (especially since we’ve experienced many recipes from other sources that really underestimate) but this one didn’t work that way – though maybe the squash in BC are bigger than they are in England. Anyway, as it is a fairly easy dish overall to construct, this is something that we would make again for a group.