It's been a while since I've done a Gastropod post--for the uninitiated, that's a post about what I've been cooking and eating lately (it's as exciting as watching a snail move)--but since it's undeniably lasagne weather in Brisbane at the moment, a bit of extra-effort cooking has been underway at Chez Galaxy.
I've been craving lasagne all week. The vegetarians amongst my readers will be pleased to know it's vegetarian lasagne, in particular, that I've been salivating over.
I'm afraid I can't claim any ethical highground though, because any wish for meat has been well and truly satisfied by another dish I've been eating throughout the week. It's also been soup weather in this part of the world, so on Monday or Tuesday I made myself a big pot of rice noodle soup with bits of pork mince, sliced chicken, dried shrimp and fried tofu in a chicken broth with fish sauce and lime juice served with various bits of sliced green vegetables and a few slices of chilli and fried garlic that I've added to the mix for each meal.
Suffice to say that recent blood tests reveal my iron levels are sufficient.
Anyway, because I will eat soup no matter what the weather, even in the middle of summer, the rice noodle soup is a less significant culinary occasion for me than any that has me buying lasagne sheets.
Remember when lasagne was just about the fanciest thing you could serve at a dinner party? It was mainly because of all the effort involved, I think. It might have been some variation on that Middle Eastern entertaining principle: if people can see you've spent a lot of time cooking for them, it means they're valued guests.
Throughout the week, I thought various times about making lasagne. The first time I didn't have any flour. Shocking, I know. What kind of Gastropod am I? Well, I threw out the last lot because it was weevil infested; they wouldn't have gone down too well in the bechamel sauce.
On my next lasagne attempt, I got distracted by looking at recipes for the range of possible fillings I could make with various ingredients including mushrooms and capsicum. I bought an eggplant and some zucchini at one stage, imagining they would make excellent fillings. Alas, the eggplant could not be resisted and was grilled before some made its way onto a pizza, while the remainder was eaten on crackers for lunch one day.
Finally, today, I whipped up a bechamel sauce. I sliced some zucchini and sauteed it with butter, olive oil, garlic, parsley and oregano, then I mixed the two together (reserving some plain bechamel for the bottom of the lasagne dish), and added grated fontina--must have eaten all the parmesan--and some freshly grated nutmeg. I put the reserved bechamel on the bottom of the cooking dish, then began the layering process: pasta, zucchini bechamel, pasta, zucchini bechamel, etc. I finished the top layer with a grating of the fontina and put it in the oven for 20mins on 200°C. Voilà:
Sorry about the blurry shot; it's the camera phone--it looked in focus when I pressed the shutter button.
Here's another blurry photo. This one's of the salad I ate with the lasagne:
While the lasagne wasn't that cheesy, I decided I needed the tomatoes and onions for their anti-cholesterol properties. Can you tell I've been watching anatomy documentaries again? On the heart smart premise, I also had a glass of red wine. Now I might have some chocolate. 70%, of course.
What I suffer for my heart health.