Once in a while, when AJ and I find ourselves with an evening together, we decide that nope, we're DONE being productive today. Done diggity done. Last Wednesday night was one of these occasions, where we both stumbled through the door at 4pm and headed straight for the beer (with a slight detour on my part to the frosty glass waiting in the freezer....oh yes...I went there). With a want to do absolutely nothing, we looked at our recently-purchased-at-a-pawn-shop short stack of dvd's and picked out not one, but two movies that we'd waste 4 hours of our lives watching. Walk the Line was first, followed closely by Superbad.
But what to eat? Beer's not cuttin' it and I have a pile of kale in the fridge...what to do, what to do..."I know! Lasanga!" This was a fairly ambitious undertaking, especially for exhausted and cranky me. But with a couple o' beers and some help from the man, we rocked it.
FIRST THINGS FIRST, prepare your sauce. That's right. Homemade marinara. You can of course use a jar of whatever, but the stuff you make on your own stove will rock your world.
In a small saucepan, combine:
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes (the kind with added basil is good)
4-10 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp salt
couple of pinches black pepper
Let the mixture simmer on the stove for 15 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. Then, take it off the heat and let it hang out on the back of the stove so the flavors can meld, about 20 minutes. You can be done at this point, or you can buzz it up in your blender for a nice smooth effect.
SECOND THINGS SECOND, prepare your filling. This is where I busted out the pile of kale sitting in my fridge (freshly grown in Dakota's fabulous garden) and steamed it for about 10 minutes.
Using spinach would allow you to skip this step, but who wants spinach when you can have kale? Whatever you do, let's make some faux ricotta next.
Bust out your blender, and add:
1 18oz package tofu, water-packed
1/4 cup water or non-dairy milk
Buzz up the mixture until it's smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. This'll take a few minutes. When the tofu looks ricottaesque, dump it into a bowl and add your leaves (whether it's raw spinach or steamed kale). Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
THIRD THINGS THIRD, boil your noodles...but only for a few minutes! They should still be hard on the inside when they get tossed into the oven. Overcooking them will create nasty mushy cafeteria noodles. Ew.
FINALLY, assemble the thing. It goes like this: Thin layer of sauce on the bottom (don't forget this step), noodles, ricotta. Sauce, noodles, ricotta. End with sauce, then top with vegan cheese (the perfect place to try it for the first time!! Go with this one). Bake the lasagna at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, or till it looks like this:
Wait for a bit before your cut into it or you'll burn your friggin' mouth off. It's the perfect time to start watching your first flick...while you pretend to ignore the amazing smells wafting out of your kitchen.
(That's a bad picture. But who can make a pile of lasagna look pretty anyway? Who cares?)
So. Amazing. Eat and enjoy. Wasn't that fabulous? Told ya! But hey! Want to make the meal even better? Finish it off with a bang? And since you're watching movies.....