Real Food Monday – I try a new recipe

It’s been lovely having the day off today – I decided to try something new, a recipe for Sweet Potato, Caramelized Onion, and Butternut Squash Lasagna. It’s from this cookbook: Smith & Hawken: The Gardeners’ Community Cookbook, which is available on Amazon right now, starting at a penny.

Now, I don’t make lasagna very often. In fact, it’s been years since I made real lasagna with actual noodles. So I am not an experienced lasagna maker. BUT I’ve learned several things from my experience today, which I will share with you.

  1. You cannot boil “no boil” lasagna noodles.  They will become a solid, unusable lump of pasta. So unless your recipe meets the criteria for “no boil” noodles, don’t go there.
  2. If the recipe SEEMS too dry as you are layering the lasagna, it IS too dry. There’s no liquidy sauce in this recipe like in regular lasagna, and the edges of this dish are basically inedible because they are baked hard. I will have to think about how to fix that problem – maybe one of the lovely squash-based pasta sauces that you can buy.
  3. 16 ounces of lasagna noodles is a LOT – really, a 13 x 9 baking dish probably only needs 8 ounces. I can say that since per the recipe I cooked 16 ounces, but only used about half of them.
  4. CHECK REGULARLY as the dish is baking. The recipe said to bake this for 1 1/2 hours, or until brown and bubbly – the picture below is what it  looked like after 45 minutes. Quite brown, although not particularly bubbly due to the dryness described above. It would have been a charred mess had I left it any longer, so now I know 45 minutes is where to set the timer.

It’s actually quite tasty, and now I know where it needs tweaking. So next time, it will be much closer to perfect.

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