We got to talking about food in a comments thread the other day (imagine!), and I promised that I would soon devote a thread entirely to Shapelings’ favorite recipes.
Here is that thread.
As I’ve said many times here, I’m a crappy cook, but I do have two recipes that are always crowd pleasers. One is the oh-so-charmingly named Christmas Morning Wifesaver from the Best of Bridge cookbook*, which actually was our Christmas breakfast most years while I was growing up. If you’re afraid of white food, this one won’t be for you, but it’s damn tasty. (And fwiw, I’ve tried substitutions including brown bread, sausage, and red peppers, but in my experience, nothing’s as good as the original. Though if you’re lacto-ovo vegetarian, you could probably eliminate the meat and have a totally yummy eggy-cheesy thing.)
The second recipe is the kind I love best — only a handful of ingredients, so I can remember them all at the store and make it without having to consult the recipe. And basically foolproof. Of course, the fact that I always do it from memory means I don’t know the exact quantities of ingredients anymore, but there’s a ton of wiggle room here.
Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups
- 1 or 2 10-oz. packages of frozen spinach, depending on how much you like, thawed and squeezed out and whatnot — OR one large bag (or equivalent) of fresh spinach, wilted and chopped up in a food processor
- About 2/3 of an average-sized tub of ricotta
- 3 cups of other Italian cheeses — I usually get a bag of shredded Italian cheese blend and pour it in, but if you’re a keener, you can grate 1 cup of parmesan, 1 of mozzarella, one of romano or asiago or whatever, yourself
- 2 eggs, maybe 3 (I can’t remember which the original recipe said, but I usually use 2)
- 1 tsp. nutmeg
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
- 10 lasagna noodles (Original recipe called for oven-ready lasagna noodles, which you were supposed to soak in lukewarm water for 10 mins to make them flexible. This never works for me — they go straight from stiff to starchy mess when I have my back turned. So in Toronto, I always bought sheets of fresh lasagna noodles, ’cause they were easy to find. Here, they’re not, so I boil normal ones.)
- One jar of your favorite tomato sauce
Preheat oven to 350. Mix up everything but the noodles and sauce in a large bowl. Pour half the jar of sauce in the bottom of a 13″ x 9″ pan. Spread some spinach and cheese goop on each lasagna noodle, roll ’em up, and place them seam side down in the pan. Pour the rest of the sauce over the top. Bake covered for about half an hour. (I think the original recipe called for uncovering it and baking for 5 more mins., but I’ve never really seen the point.)
At least the first time you try it, resist the temptation to fancy it up with other ingredients. The best thing about this recipe is its utter simplicity — the flavors all blend perfectly, and adding extra garlic (the sauce should provide plenty) or mushrooms or whatever just messes with that. Don’t forget the nutmeg, though — it’s important.
Oh, and this recipe is awesome for people only cooking for one or two, because the roll-ups make it easy to freeze individual portions for later microwaving (which isn’t ideal, but they’re still pretty yummy that way).
All right, Shapelings, hit it. What’s your favorite recipe?
*I made this for my friend Mean Asian Girl’s baby shower, and she went, “Oh, is this that… Christmas Morning Wifebeater or whatever?” So that’s been the new name for Wifesaver around here since then. You can take your pick.