Wednesday, September 24, 2008

september 24, 2008: frugal feasts lasagna

Photo by Ken Williams of the Concord Monitor

Lasagna The Frugal Feasts Way

Basic Recipe-makes 1 11 by 15 pan, at least 20 servings.
Fewer if the eaters are really depressed.
1 32 ounce jar marinara sauce - Prego is good here, but whatever is on sale works fine
1 1/2 cups water
6 cups shredded mozzarella
1 cup grated parmesan
16 ounce tub of ricotta cheese
small bottle Wishbone Italian dressing
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs
Fresh ground pepper and kosher salt to taste - approx ½ teaspoon each
1 large package no boil lasagna noodles

Mix together the jar of sauce and the water in a pitcher and set aside.In a medium sized bowl beat together the ricotta, parmesan, 3 cups of mozzarella, eggs, Italian dressing, garlic, salt and pepper and set aside.

Optional fillings

Sausage: remove skins from one package sweet Italian sausage with fennel and place in a large skillet over medium heat. Break into small pieces with a wooden spoon and cook until sausage is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Remove from skillet with a slotted spoon and add to the sauce in the pitcher.

Roasted Veggies: Roughly chop 1 pound of mixed veggies (we like zucchini and summer squash but red pepper, onion and mushroom would also be delicious) into 1 inch pieces. Place on baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 cloves of minced garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Roast at 375 degrees until cooked and starting to brown (about 20 minutes), stirring occasionally. Add to ricotta mixture.

Assembling the lasagna:Pour about 1 1/2 cups of sauce into the bottom of an 11X15 inch pan. Place 4 no-boil noodles in bottom of pan. Spread half of the ricotta mixture on top of the noodles. Spread another 1 1/2 cups sauce on top of the ricotta. Top with four more noodles. Top with the rest of the ricotta. Top with another 1 1/2 cups sauce and four more noodles. Cover the top with sauce, making sure that all of the top layer of noodles is covered. Cover the whole dish with two sheets with foil and seal well. Bake at 375 degrees for one hour. Remove the foil and cover the top of the lasagna with the rest of the cheese. Broil for 2-3 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and brown. Let sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

september 10, 2008: frugal feasts pasta puttanesca, peter's garlic bread

Puttanesca Sauce
8 Generous servings at $.93/serving
2 Tablespoons Olive oil
2 Cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons capers
4 anchovy fillets packed in oil, chopped
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
Fresh ground pepper, about ½ teaspoon or to taste
1 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
2 large or 4 small cans diced tomatoes, undrained
Shredded parmesan or romano cheese and chopped parsley for serving (optional).
1 ½ boxes thin spaghetti or linguine

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
Start the sauce (directions below)
When the water boils, add the spaghetti and cook just until done. Drain and put in a large serving bowl. Toss with a little olive oil and set aside.
Sauce Directions:
Warm the olive oil in a large pan. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer while the spaghetti cooks. Serve on top of the pasta.

Peter’s Garlic Bread
8 generous servings at $.75 per serving
2 sticks of butter at soft room temp
1 cup shredded parmesan or parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tablespoons “Texas Pete” hot sauce OR several dashes of Tabasco or to taste
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 large loaf of Italian bread—just the regular, fat, unsliced loaf from the grocery store

Slice the loaf lengthwise but keep the side attached. Open flat onto a piece of foil large enough to wrap loaf in.
Mash together the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Using a spatula, smear the butter mixture all over both sides of the bread. Close and wrap in the foil. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove, cut into inch wide slices and serve in a napkin lined basket.