I have a confession to make...I haven’t run since my 5-mile accomplishment on Saturday. :( The problem with living in Virginia in the Winter is that its cold. Really cold. I know I’m a wimp to complain about 20* weather when so many of you live in places FAR colder but you have to understand that I grew up in Florida...this whole temperature getting below 50* in the Winter is still fairly new to me. Each day this week I have planned on running, and each day I have chickened out. Maybe its because the window in my office is so drafty that I have to wear my wool coat and scarf all day, and even then my poor little fingers are still icicles. Or maybe its because when I get home all I want to do is create a meal that will be so satisfying and hearty that I will be warmed from the inside out after consuming it, like last night’s Ravioli Lasagna and Brussels Sprout Spaghetti.This idea came from Tina at Carrots & Cake, and originally from Real Simple magazine (I couldn't find a recipe link). Lasagna noodles and ricotta are replaced with prepared ravioli pasta...I chose 365 Brand frozen5 Cheese Ravioli.The raviolis are layered with pasta sauce (also 365 Brand), frozen spinach (thawed, excess water squeezed out) and part-skim mozzarella. There are so many variations that could be played with. I was thinking about an amazing portobello ravioli that a local pasta shop creates and how good that would be layered with additional mushrooms, olives and capers...yum!Were I to create the lasagna for a dinner party again I would probably use fresh ravioli in lieu of the frozen. This would make the cost of the dish significantly higher, which is why I would reserve it for special occasions only. The frozen raviolis were good, just chewier than fresh would have been. Even with frozen raviolis this dish is more expensive than a classic lasagna with noodles would be, but its a fun take on a classic favorite that I will surely make again.Basic Ravioli Lasagna (I encourage you to try different variations...next time I will add more veggies)
(3) 8oz packages of fresh or frozen ravioli
(1) jar of pasta sauce
(1) 10oz package of frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed to remove excess liquid)
1-1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella
Ladle 1/2 cup of sauce into bottom of 9x9 glass baking dish.
Layer one package of ravioli on top of sauce.
Top with 1/2 of spinach and 1/2 cup of mozzarella.
Ladle 1/3 of remaining sauce over mozzarella.
Repeat steps 2-4.
Layer last package of ravioli on top of sauce.
Ladle remaining 1/3 of sauce over ravioli and top with last 1/2 cup of mozzarella.
Bake at 350* for about 20 minutes, until lasagna is bubbly and top layer of cheese is just starting to brown.
While the lasagna was baking I worked on a new brussels sprouts recipe. Our go-to method for cooking brussels has been to roast them, and I'm getting a little tired of it. We have them weekly, so I wanted to play around with different methods of preparing them. A friend of mine told me about a recipe he and his wife cook often, where you slice the brussels into 1/8" pieces, essentially turning them into a slaw-like consistency. You then sauté them in butter, toss them with linguine and serve. I was intrigued, so we tried it.
Brussels Sprout Spaghetti
lots of brussels...we probably had 20 medium-sized
1 shallot, minced
1 tbsp butter
whole wheat pasta (I used spaghetti, but will use angel hair next time)
juice from 1/2 a lemon
parmesan cheese, shaved
Boil the pasta until soft.
Meanwhile, saute' the brussels and shallot in 1/2 the butter until fragrant and beginning to brown.
Drain the pasta and add to the brussels pan. Add the last 1/2 of butter and toss all together. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with shaved parmesan on top.
This dish was delicious, although I will definitely reduce the amount of pasta used next time, and will probably substitute angel hair for the spaghetti noodles. The shaved parmesan really makes the dish, and I think it would be divine with bacon or pancetta added in.
The evening was delicious, warm and satisfying. But if I'm going to keep making dishes like this, I have to get over my fear of the cold and get back on the road for some runs! Here's hoping the weather warms soon...