Monday, October 25, 2010

A Warm Meal on a Grey Day

We had lasagna tonight.

I always enjoy making lasagna. It takes a good long time, and that is a nice thing.  It focuses my mind a bit, away from all of the usual nonsense that my mind tends to focus upon - it is hard to worry about politics or the sad fate of one's favorite sports teams when making lasagna, really. And in the end, there is good food to share.

This was my first try with gluten-free noodles, in deference to Kim’s recent disagreements with wheat. We’ve tried a number of gluten-free products, and they range from “quite good” to “are you sure you didn’t buy this at the hardware store?” But these noodles were okay – they tasted fine, and I’m not sure if their rather stiff texture was due to their being mostly rice bran or to the fact that they were no-boil noodles that you put right into the mix, and I’d never worked with such noodles before, gluten or no gluten.

So many options these days.

It did have the usual allotment of cheeses – ricotta (which Tabitha decided is, more or less, “very cold play-dough”), mozzarella, parmesan – and my homemade gravy, which people around here call “spaghetti sauce” or, worse, “red sauce,” and I just will not have that terminology in my house. Red sauce sounds like something you put on ice cream. And with gravy comes meatballs, so life was good all around.

Of course, when we have lasagna we have to have it by candlelight. I’m not sure when this tradition started, but Lauren in particular is quite keen on the idea that lasagna = candles. She had a grand time scaring up four candles – one for each of us – and Tabitha took care of the actual lighting of them, now that she is getting big enough to handle that duty. There was a moment or two of solemn reflection before we decided that no, four candles did not in fact provide enough light to eat something as amorphous as lasagna and therefore we should turn on the normal light but dial it down low. It made a nice effect. Lasagna – the food of romance.

It was a very nice meal, all four of us sitting around and contentedly chewing in the semi-darkness.

And now we have enough leftovers to feed a small army – lasagna being one of those dishes that comes in two sizes, those being “excessive” and “even more excessive” – so if you’re going to be in Wisconsin any time in the next week, let me know. Our tribe is pretty small, but our lasagna isn’t.


Megan said...

Gluten-free cook here: If you find decent no-boil GF lasagna noodles, buy as many as you can afford.

The regular ones need to be boiled and dried off with a paper towel before they can be used. It's a huge hassle.

David said...

Dried off with a paper towel? Sweet dancing monkeys on a stick, that *is* a huge hassle. I'm sure there's a good reason for that, but I have to admit my first reaction is that they're just going to get wet again :)

The ones we had were "De Bole's Rice Lasagna" - they come in a blue box.

They were easy, and I'd say "decent" about covered them.

Beatrice Desper said...

Have you tried boiling the no boil lasagne? I don't know about the gluten free issue, but I have never found a true no boil lasagne.

And, do I understand correctly that you make your own spaghetti sauce?

David said...

I have made my own gravy since 1987, when I moved into my first sublet. It's a great way to warm up a space.

Kim seems to be doing better with gluten, so perhaps we'll just go back to the regular noodles.