Remember the whole Me Being Italian* Thing? Yeah…me neither.
Sometimes I get lost in clouds of turmeric and coriander, my mind filled with sitar music and bhangra beats. And then I am reminded: I grew up on cannoli, classical music, pasta and hearing my Grandma say, “Va fa a Napoli!” when annoyed.
Imagine my surprise when this very phrase was the subject of a Friends episode.
(If it doesn’t work, copy-paste this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4E4CuhQvGk)
All of this brings me to my point: things were beginning to feel mighty Indian around here and I decided it was time to bust out my Andrea Bocelli and make a little Lasagna.
A few months ago I began the Lasagna Challenge. This involved 3 lasagna recipes given to me by my sister. I was to make them without altering them or substituting ingredients. I have compulsive recipe-altering behaviours, making this aspect of the challenge very difficult.
Last week, I made Vegetable Lasagna from the Pioneer Woman. Let’s be honest from the get-go: I altered and substituted. I’m sorry, Sarah! I had the best of intentions…
Diversion #1: Lasagna Noodles. I mixed no boil and boil noodles. (GASP) I bought noodles from Bulk Barn–12 for $.75. Since I thought it might be a limited time offer or a fake deal, I grabbed the noodles and never looked back. I got home and had no idea if they were No Boil. Or not. My lasagna-making adventure began with me calling Bulk Barn and sheepishly asking the store manager. He had no clue. In they went “just in case”. I mixed them with No Boil. Somehow this felt very, very wrong.
Alteration #2: “Pour in tomatoes. Use hands to squeeze/crush them.” This was not happening as my hands were bandaged and I’m pretty sure I would look like a homicide suspect if I hand-crushed tomatoes with white bandages on. So I chopped them with scissors. I’m hoping it had the same effect.
Failure #3: No white wine. Sad.
Substitution #4: Ricotta Cheese. The whole Reading Recipes in Ounces and Buying in Grams thing really throws me off. Especially since I don’t really do details. The recipe called for 30 ounces of ricotta cheese, which I learned post-grocery shopping is more than 800 g. I had 300 g. So I looked up substitutions online and found out I could use sour cream. While I heard my Grandma’s scolding voice in my head (Va fa a Napoli!), I poured sour cream into lasagna filling. [Shame]
To my joy, the Bulk Barn noodles were cooked perfectly, and the right size! I didn’t have to do the awkward horizontal noodle thing.
About half way through I realized the water in our apartment building was turned off for the day. Oh. Dear. Do you have any idea how many pots and pans I used prior to this realization? My hubby was very gracious when we returned home at 1 am and found this:
I loved the hidden mushrooms, the spice of the red pepper flakes and the juiciness the whole tomatoes brought. This is a great recipe and I can’t wait to try it again!
*I’m (only) half Italian. But who’s keeping score?