Recipe Count – 40 left
Section Count – Entrees: 8; subsection – vegetarian: 2
Look, sometimes a recipe just doesn’t work. Sometimes, it’s because the recipe wasn’t tested enough before publication. Sometimes, it’s ’cause I just don’t have the skill level for this. And sometimes it’s because mother-[expletive] lasagna sheets don’t come in multiples of mother-[expletive] 3.25 inches!
So the plan for a Saturday dinner was “Tortellini filled with Winter Squash and Sage” from The Spice Bible. From the start, I knew this one should only be tried on a weekend, what with the ‘roast for 40 minutes’ in the first step. But the drizzling sage-infused butter over tortellini filled with squash sounded really good. Good enough to mean I was willing to stand up and fold pasta into little packets. Something which making wonton soup for New Year’s Con has pretty much burned out my capacity to do.
New Year’s Con: the college crowd, plus the ever expanding social circle, getting together for the weekend over New Year’s, holing up in an apartment/house the entire time, and being our incredibly geeky selves. We’re up to about 13-15 people. Feeding said small horde for 3 meals a day is … an undertaking, which our hosts have figured out is easier to outsource to said horde. Some of us volunteer to be responsible for one meal over the weekend and for several years, my traditional meal was a wonton soup. That had started out life scaled to two servings. It was good in that I could make the wontons ahead of time, freeze them, and simmer as needed at our get together. But 5-6 wontons per head, for 13 people? Yeah, I don’t make it anymore. At least not for New Year’s Con.
([Expletive]. Now, I want wonton soup again.)
Right, so, tortellini.
The OCD chef’s cutting board had been hauled out and lasagna sheets lined up when I ran into the first ‘maybe this will be an issue?’ thing – the sheets were about 5.75 inches wide. And the recipe called for 3.25 inch squares. So… I could either get one row of 3.25 inch squares or cut the sheet in half lengthwise and get smaller rectangles. I went for the second option.
This was not my only mistake.
The second mistake was actually getting the sheets into
squaresrectangles ahead of time. About 10 minutes ahead of time. Which was apparently long enough for the squares to dry out enough to not seal but still be reasonably pliable. Plus the smaller size meant that all the filling, no matter how little I put in went Squish! out the sides.
This is the point where I stepped back, looked at the bowl of mashed butternut squash and other goodness, and started muttering expletives, in a ‘what do I do now?’ moment. This is where it’s really awesome to have two cooking styles in the house. I fix Adam’s baking mishaps. He rescues dinner when a recipe goes completely to pot.
We had lasagna.
TortelliniLasagna with Sage
- 2 lb butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 egg yolk, beaten
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp grated nutmeg
- 2 tbsp chopped sage
- 1 chicken breast, sliced
- 1 package lasagna sheets
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Mix the squash in a roasting pan with half the olive oil (2 tbsp) and a generous amount of salt and freshly ground pepper. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the squash is completely soft.
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tbsp oil in a saucepan and gently cook the onion until soft. Put the onion and squash in a bowl, draining off any excess oil. Mash, then leave to cool. Once cool, crumble in the ricotta and mix in the egg yolk, Parmesan cheese, nutmeg and sage. Season well.
- In a square baking dish, put in half the squash mixture, a layer of chicken, then cover with a layer of lasagna sheets. Repeat with remaining squash, chicken, and sheets. Cover top with more ricotta and sprinkle sage over the top.
- Cook in the 375°F oven for 30 minutes.