Monday, January 05, 2009

Back into the deep freeze, and why I love Giada

Saturday we were supposed to get between 4 and 8 inches of snow. I ran 7 miles in the morning (19 degrees, kind of windy), expecting the snow would start at any time. However, I even saw a few patches of blue sky, so I was suspicious.

With all my grocery shopping done, I really had no need to go anywhere. So I watched plenty of football and waited for the snow to start falling. And waited. And waited.

By Sunday morning, barely even an inch had fallen in my neighborhood. Apparently this storm had the National Weather Circus stumped. I suppose that is OK. Better an inch than eight, I guess! It was still enough to screw up the roads, but my trails were simply dusted over for the morning run on Sunday.

This is what -18 wind chill looks like! The start of an arctic sunrise over my local lake on Sunday morning.



However, the temperature took a nose dive. Sunday morning greeted me with -1 below zero and a -18 wind chill. The wind was cranking pretty good out of the northwest, so it made for a crisp, frosty run. I did another 7 miles and didn't see a soul. In fact, the only tracks I saw on one part of the trail belonged to a fox who had obviously traversed this area overnight. I did see some snow buntings though, so that was worth braving the cold.

For Sunday's dinner, I tried something new. I made Food Network diva Giada De Laurentiis' lasagna rolls. Giada's recipes have always turned out really nice for me, so I thought it would be worth giving this a go. As it turns out, the lasagna rolls were a lot of fun to make, so here is how it all came together.

The recipe says to spread the filling over the noodle and roll it up. However, in the instructional video link for making the lasagna rolls, Giada does it differently, opting to put a large spoonful on one end and then just rolling the lasagna up. I did it using the video method, as it seemed like it would be less work and less messy.

A prepped lasagna roll



I did not do the B├ęchamel sauce with the milk, butter, and flour, opting to line the bottom of the baking dish with some extra marinara sauce. Otherwise, I followed the rest of the recipe almost exactly (the only other difference being that I simply added a little fresh thyme, parsley, and crushed red pepper flakes to the filling mix).

The lasagna rolls sauced, ready to be topped with cheese and thrown in the oven



Here is how they looked coming out of the oven after removing the foil and allowing the cheese on top to get a little brown.

Fresh out of the oven



The results were fantastic, and this may change the way I make lasagna forever! This is a pretty and delicious dish, and kind of a fun twist on lasagna. There was some additional effort involved in the preparation, but nothing here is terribly complicated, and it really isn't all that much more work than would go into making a traditional lasagna.

Dinner is served! Giada's lasagna rolls with golden beets and broccoli.



These individual pasta packets cook up beautifully, the filling is firm (yet retains some moisture), and the taste is just excellent. Be sure to save a little extra warmed marinara sauce as she suggests in the recipe. It was nice to lay down a small pool of sauce on the plate for sopping material, as the filling itself is not really "saucy," if that makes sense.

Giada, I love you! I will be making this over and over again. And I can't wait to have leftovers for lunch. :)

Until next time,

Jean
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