Saturday, December 1, 2007

Lasagne (p. 340), Tomato Sauce with Meatballs (p. 564), Tomato Sauce (p. 562), Italian Meatballs (p. 513)

Today was a huge moment in my journey through TJOC. Cooking something that I was pretty damn sure my family had much better recipes for. Today I cooked Lasagna (p. 340). Now, my family has a pretty damn awesome lasagna recipe. The filling is the same as in my beloved Noni's ravioli and is a meat, spinach, ricotta mixture with a few special ingredients. TJOC's recipe? Sauce, cheese, ricotta. That doesn't sound that tempting. Where is the meat? Where is the spinach? To make up for that, I decided to make Tomato Sauce with Meatballs (p. 564), probably my favorite recipe in TJOC so far--it's only four lines long and refers entirely to two other recipes--Tomato Sauce (p. 562) and Italian Meatballs (p. 513).

The sauce recipe was simple enough, although why TJOC wants me to make all sauces in a skillet is beyond me. I didn't send it through a food mill because I kind of like it lumpy.

I then made the meatballs. It's kind of fun to play with raw meat and, again, these were fairly easy. That being said, I think they were heavy on onions and the recipe from Cook's Illustrated is a lot more tasty. Plus, real Italian meatballs aren't all ground beef. I didn't want to waste veal on this recipe--plus it wasn't called for. Even so, they looked extremely tasty!

How could the altitude (my mortal enemy) affect the lasagna? Hmm...water boiling at a lower temp...that couldn't possibly affect...NOODLES! My noodles took FOREVER to cook and were more chewy than my liking. Even so, I wasn't really willing to start over.

One of the many things I don't like about this recipe is the extremely low amount of ricotta cheese. Now, at least it doesn't ask for cottage cheese (disgusting!) but 15 oz is not near enough. I smeared that on the first level! Josh had to go for a second, larger container to finish the meal off.

So, TJOC's lasagna recipe says that it takes 5 cups of the tomato sauce from 562. That lead me to believe that the tomato sauce recipe made 5 cups, so I didn't worry about it. This was incorrect. The tomato sauce recipe makes about two and a half cups--uh oh. I didn't have enough tomatoes to make a second I improvised. I had a Tupperware of sauce from last month in the freezer. I dumped that into the other sauce, and away I went! But even that wasn't enough sauce! I had to get a container of the sauce my mother made me when she was here this summer. How much sauce does this take???

Assembling the lasagna was fairly easy. The whole thing weighed about forty thousand pounds. It said I was supposed to have three layers of filling but that was NOT going to happen...mine only had two layers.

The lasagna pre-cook and post-cook:

So how did it taste? Frankly, I think it was too heavy and sweet with not enough spinach or meat. Just not my taste in lasagna. And way too much of it for two people! So some of it might end up in the trash can...

In other news, some might see this as a shot glass but it may be one of my favorite things in the kitchen--so easy to measure liquid!!

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