Thursday, December 11, 2008

Fun with leftover noodles!

As I opened the fridge, I realized I still had six or seven leftover lasagna noodles. Since I was already home alone, preparing myself for a night of staying in to write a few papers, I decided to whip up a single serving of lasagna. Not a re-do of fall lasagna, but a variation of a more traditional-looking vegetarian lasagna: mozzarella, red sauce, noodles...

I started the sauce on the stove; we were out of onions, so the improv recipe is below. It was actually pretty good even minus the chopped onion. The recipe is below. I used a round ramekin, probably 4-5" in diameter, but any smaller single-serve pyrex or other dish will do.

Preheat oven on convection to 350 degrees, 375 if you don't have convection.
1-2 T Extra Virgin olive oil
4 cloves smashed or diced garlic (I like to smash, then chop roughly, but it might just be a phase)
1/4 t dried oregano
1/4 t dried thyme
1/8-1/4 t crushed red pepper (less or more, depending on how much heat you like)
1 16 oz can peeled whole tomatoes, crushed in your hands*
pinch salt and pepper (to taste)

1/4 c ricotta cheese
1/4 c small curd cottage cheese
1 c very very lightly steamed spinach
salt and pepper to taste

Leftover lasagna noodles
1/4 c mozzarella, shredded

In a small-medium saucepan, on medium heat, pour in oil. When it's hot, add garlic, oregano, thyme. Stir, cook for a bit but do not let garlic brown. After 5 min or so, add tomatoes, their juice, crushed red pepper, salt and black pepper. Stir it up, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat so sauce is simmering. Leave on a low simmer from 30 min to an hour.

While sauce is cooking, let's trim those leftover noodles! Place ramekin on top of one noodle. With either kitchen scissors or a pairing knife, trace noodle to be the shape and size of the ramekin. Then cut your new shape in half, if need be (I did). Use your newly shaped noodle as a template and cut out some more (however many layers you will need for your lasagna).

Mix together cottage cheese, ricotta, and spinach, s+p.

Place two halves (or one whole) noodle in bottom of ramekin. Spoon a bit of filling on top of noodles. Spoon a bit of sauce on top. Add another two halves of noodle shapes on top. Continue to layer filling and sauce until you get to the top of the ramekin. When you reach the top, sprinkle on mozzarella. Put it in the oven for about...40 minutes, but keep an eye on it after 30.

It should look deeelicious. You can spoon leftover sauce on top when you serve it.
Oh, also- it ended up being more than just one serving for me-- more like 2 and a half.

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