Belated birthdays

I missed Karen’s birthday this year. I dunno. I was busy, I had a tooth crack in half, my sister was here from LA, my other sister forced me to go to a Packer game in 13 degree weather, I could go on. Anyway, to make it up to her I made her a little lasagna. I could have made her a huge one but I would hate getting that much food, and I had the perfect little glass pan to put it in (that she in fact gave me originally). So I made the spinach/artichoke lasagna that I make for my family for Christmas. It is amazing. And relatively simple to make. Except that this year I threw in the remains of some Pasta alla Norma (eggplant and olives) and it was extra specially delicious I was told. So that’s what I made.

Assembling the ingredients is probably harder than assembling the dish, you just make the sauce and slop it into the pan in layers with cheese and noodles. I have included both recipes (artichoke spinach lasagna and pasta alla Norma) at the end but I am fully aware that no one in their right mind is going to ever make this. However, several people who read this with some regularity are not fully in their right mind and so if you’re a member of that assortment of readers and plan on making it (no one will ever make this, just so I am clear on that) halve the amounts of the sauces but use the same amount of cheese. Like I said, no one is ever gonna do this. Which is a shame since Karen said it was the best lasagna she’d ever eaten.

Artichoke Spinach Lasagna

from Deb Borkin

1/2 cup chopped onion
4 cloves minced garlic
1 tbls olive oil
1 can veg broth (Use the juice from the artichokes instead, adding broth if it needs more)
1 tsp dried rosemary (fresh works better if you have it)
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp pepper
1 jar marinated artichokes cut into chunks
1 pkg chopped spinach (thawed and squeezed)
I always a bunch of fresh spinach as well
1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 jar of meatless red pasta sauce
1 pkg no cook lasagna noodles (or whatever) I used regular uncooked ones and it was fine.
3 c or more of shredded mozzarrella cheese
1-2 cups crumbled feta cheese
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp dried basil (or put a tablespoon of fresh on when it’s done)

Preheat oven 350.
In saucepan, saute onion and garlic in olive oil til tender.  Stir in broth, rosemary, nutmeg and pepper.  bring to a boil.  Add artichokes and juice, spinach and mushrooms.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer 5 min.  Stir in pasta sauce.

Spread 1 cup sauce mixture into a greased 9×13 baking dish.  Top with three noodles and 3/4 cup mozzarella.  Repeat layers three times.  Top with remaining sauce mixture and mozzarella cheese.  sprinkle with feta cheese, garlic powder, oregano, parsley and basil.

Cover and bake in preheated oven for 40 min.  Uncover and bake 15 min longer.  Let stand 10 min before cutting.

Pasta alla Norma

1 large eggplant cut into 1.5 inch chunks

2 cups sliced mushrooms

2 cloves of garlic, chopped fine

3 TBL chopped onion

1 cup sliced olives (the greek marinated olives at Glorioso are the best)

6 TBL chopped basil

2 TBL butter

2 TBL olive oil

2 TBL tomato paste

1 tsp anchovy paste

1/4 cup red wine

1 can tomato sauce or ground tomatoes

1/4 cup parmesan

Salt pepper

The first thing you have to do is microwave the eggplant for 10-15 minutes. Put down some coffee filters to absorb the water and turn the chunks every now and then. This gets rid of a lot of water and makes the eggplant more toothsome.

Then put a large sauté pan on high heat. Add half the butter and half the oil, 

when that is shimmering sauté the mushrooms, salt and pepper.

Remove from pan when browned, add the rest of the butter and oil and add

the now shriveled eggplant, onions and garlic. When the eggplant is browned, add the 

mushrooms back into the pan, add the anchovy and tomato paste and combine well. 

and continue to sauté for 5 minutes. Add red wine, when that is absorbed into the slop

in the pan add the tomato sauce, cover reduce to low.

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