Monday, January 14, 2008

Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna | ATK

What I don't get is this. About a week ago Hilary Clinton showed the smallest bit of emotion at a campaign stop in New Hampshire. This show of "emotion" was then broadcast on every news program and analyzed by every new organization. She didn't cry, she didn't wail, she choked up a bit, probably because she hasn't slept in 8 months, has the most unflattering pictures of her are posted all over the newspapers, (it's like the news organizations try to find the most horrible pictures of her that they can find), and is no doubt fighting an uphill battle in a man's industry. I bring this up not because I like Hilary or would even vote for her. I bring this up because yesterday after the Cowboys lost to the Giants, Terrel Owen's cried in the postgame press conference. I didn't see that display of emotion get analyzed on CNN or MSNBC this morning, or his picture get plastered all over the newspapers as Terrel Owen's big "emotional " breakdown. I just think that it goes to show the markedly different way emotion is perceived in the mainstream media. A woman who's trying to make history as the first woman president gets mildly emotional at a campaign stop, and the whole news system goes ballistic trying to analyze her strength. A male sore loser cries over a football game and no one bats an eye. I just don't get it.

Moving along. I made this recipe for my Italian in-laws, which is the ultimate test of a pasta dish, and it got rave reviews. This dish can be made a couple days ahead of time, or can be frozen up to two months.

Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna ATK (Best Make Ahead Meals)

1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 lbs cremini mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced thin
1 medium onion minced
6 medium garlic cloves minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 tbsp)
1 28oz can tomato puree
1 28oz can diced tomatoes, drained
ground black pepper

24 oz whole milk ricotta cheese (about 3 cups)
1 10oz package frozen chopped spinach thawed and squeezed dry
2 oz Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
1 large egg lightly beaten
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

12 no boil flat lasagna noodles
1 pound whole milk mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 4 cups)
1 oz Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup)

1. FOR THE SAUCE: Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add the mushrooms, onion, and 1 tsp salt. Cover and cook until the mushrooms have released their liquids, about 10 minutes. Uncover, increase the heat to medium-high, and continue to cook until the mushrooms are dry and browned, 5 to 10 minutes.

2. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato puree and diced tomatoes, bring to a simmer, and cook until thickened slightly, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste; set aside.

3. FOR THE RICOTTA FILLING: Stir all the ingredients together until uniform; set aside.

4. TO ASSEMBLE THE LASAGNA: Spread 1 cup of the sauce over the bottom of a 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Place 3 of the noodles in a single layer in the baking dish. Spread 1/3 cup of the ricotta mixture over each noodle, then sprinkle the layer with 1 cup of the mozzarella. Spoon 1 cup of the sauce evenly over the cheeses. Repeat the layering of the noodles, ricotta, mozzarella, and sauce twice more. Place the remaining 3 noodles on top, cover with the remaining sauce, and sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup mozzarella and the Parmesan.

5. TO SERVE: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil that has been sprayed with vegetable oil. Bake until the sauce bubbles lightly around the edges, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until hot throughout and the cheese is browned in spots, 25 to 30 minutes longer. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Rating = So Damn Good


Kate B said...

You're probably too young to remember Edmund Muskie - but he was crucified and basically lost the nomination back in 72 because he showed emotion. (I'm just barely old enough to remember.) I think that emotional shows are more acceptable in male athletes than in political candidates. Athletes show their strength physically while the press is looking for a different strength in politicians. It's not fair. Oh - and in NY? There was definitely coverage of TO's tears - derisive coverage. We Giant fans figure TO can cry in his popcorn all he wants. :)

JB said...

Hey Kate,
I wasn;t yet alive in 72' so I didn't know if this Muskie fella, but I did see video clips of him when they did recaps of other people who shed political tears.

I wish the coverage of TO had been more complete here. I thought it was hysterical.