Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lasagna for Empty Nesters

Since my husband and I have become empty nesters I have found it difficult to adjust my cooking habits. The standard comment is "how many neighbors are coming over for dinner" - I just can't seem to be able to cook for only the two of us. And, while I love leftovers, once, I need to try to get a handle on the volume of food I produce. I found an intriguing recipe for Individual Lasagna with Asparagus and Prosciutto at the Williams Sonoma website - - this should be perfect - built in portion control!

A quick funny little story about prosciutto - spell checker used to correct "prosciutto" to "prostitute" - honestly. I've served many menus with "melon wrapped prostitute" and "prostitute stuffed figs" - makes a dinner party interesting - serves as a fantastic ice breaker!

I changed up the recipe a bit to lighten up the calories and to use ingredients I had on hand. For the cheese filling I used a part-skim ricotta, and substituted a low-fat Greek yogurt for the mascarpone cheese. And while the recipe called for mozzarella cheese - I instead used up some Gruyere and a local blue cheese. I think my version, with the blue / Gruyere, is more interesting than the mozzarella.
I only had dry lasagna noodles on hand, the "no cooking required" sheets - I cooked them - it's kind of difficult to fold a dry noodle. This is the layering process as described in the recipe.

Here is the completed package - single serving - a hearty portion - it is winter - - - we need to keep up our fat stores in the event we lose heat - right?
All ready for the oven - cover with foil and follow the baking instructions.
Yum - out of the oven and ready to serve. Yes, I know it's just the 2 of us, and I made 3 servings - as I said - I like leftovers - once.
To accompany our lasagna I made a wilted salad of arugula, carrots and cherry tomatoes. First I saute sliced carrots in a teaspoon of olive oil over medium flame - just before they start to brown I add 2 tablespoons of water and allow the water to cook off over low heat - this is a great way to stretch the olive oil glaze without adding unnecessary calories. Throw in the tomatoes to slightly char, and then toss in the arugula to wilt, and add a dash of balsamic vinegar. I added shredded basil after cooking for flavor. This is such a simple preparation with a big return on flavor, and minimal on calories.
Mmmmmmm - yummy dinner! The asparagus stayed nicely crisp, the pasta cooked perfectly and the "prostitute" added a lovely saltiness to the lasagna!

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