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January 16, 2008
Lasagna For One? Break
All the Rules!
Most of us are used to lasagna coming in the form of a
big, flat baking pan. For the individual, it guarantees days after days
of food, each apportioned out for simple reheating and eating as a
The question, as must
always be asked, is what about the economical mind, the person who
wishes only to eat one serving and to have no more in the refrigerator.
What is this person supposed to do to get a lasagna fix?
Sadly, that person must
become flexible in his perception of lasagna, because the typical
lasagna noodle is long and flat. While you could manufacture this kind
of noodle in the comfort of your own home, it is an inefficient,
unwieldy thing to do.
Better that you look to
our good friend the elbow macaroni. It is short and curved, which means
that it can be shaped, rather than allowing the noodle shape and size to
dictate the pan used.
While a pot full of elbow
macaroni boils, brown some ground meat with minced garlic and chopped
onion. Once cooked, add some chopped tomatoes, tomato paste and some
herbs – oregano, fresh basil and parsley, for instance. Let the tomatoes
release their water and cook down. What you will have left is a very
basic marinara sauce, which is perhaps not so good if you wish to trick
someone into believing that you’ve replicated grandma’s secret pasta
sauce. Yet we know the real point of this, which is to create your own
meal . . . something like this is entirely appropriate.
Mix the sauce and elbow
macaroni into an individual soup bowl. You can eat this now,
rationalizing it as a kind of Italian-flavored goulash. But, you are not
after goulash, but instead after something more closely akin to lasagna
(or, at least that’s what you’ve told yourself).
So we must forge onward,
remembering that the chief thing that separates lasagna from regular old
spaghetti is the shape of the noodle and also the presence of embedded
Mix into the bowl of
sauce and pasta a tablespoon or two of ricotta cheese. Stir it in
thoroughly, until evenly blended. Then, lay over the top a nice thick
carpet of shredded mozzarella cheese. It is unlike any traditional
lasagna, but perhaps you are recognizing now the meaning of the phrase
“good enough for government work.”
Still, the lasagna must
be further cooked to diffuse the power of the cheese. If you have
created your one-serving lasagna in a bowl that can withstand the oven,
heat it to 375 degrees and cook for about 10 minutes, waiting until the
cheese on top has fully melted.
If you have created your
lasagna in a bowl that is merely microwave safe, pop it in for about a
minute and a half on high. Place your finger over your mouth and say to
yourself, “Ssssssh.” It is not good to resort to microwavery . . . but
when you cook for one, all bets are off.
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