Thursday, June 7, 2012

Summer Lasagna and Cupcakes

It's been a while since I've written. 

I've been spending some time with this:

Santa Rosa Beach, FL

And this:

R enjoyed Aunt Lizzie's raspberries.
But now I'm back. 

It's been a week of settling back into work, looking longingly at photos from vacation, and taming the garden.  My basil was going wild, so I pulled out one of my favorite summer pasta recipes.

I first made this deconstructed lasagna as part of my ongoing "make something Martha Stewart monthly" project.  Matthew and I both liked it so much it became part of my regular summer rotation.  (I use the term "regular summer rotation" very, very loosely).

I could go into overworked detail of how the tomatoes and olive oil glow, the creamy ricotta works its way into every bite, and the lasagna noodles keep it all together.  But it's a simple dish, so I'll keep this simple too.  Here are five reasons to make this lasanga.

1.  It cooks up in thirty minutes from start to finish.  Lasanga in thirty mintes - do I even need to keep going?

2. It is no-bake, so no need to turn your house into a furnace by running the oven for an hour.

3. It's a little like eating edible Italian oragami. 

4.  It has "deconstructed" in the name, so you can pretend you are a Top Chef.

5. The flavors are fresh and bright.  Not typical of lasanga, but right for these warm days.

We ate it outside where the tomatoes and olive oil really did glow on our plates.  Next to us our raspberry bushes moved mildly in the breeze.  The leaves turning from green to silver to green.  In the center of the table, my basil plant was fragrant from it's recent trimming.  Thankful to God for a life that isn't flat. 

For dessert we had cupcakes.

For my upstate South Carolina friends, I reccomend you visit The Bakery Off Augsta.  They do pastries right.  I haven't had anything there I didn't like.  The food is deliberate and thoughtful - not always found in sweets.  Great pairings of cake and frosting, no unnecessary sugary glazes or exessive sprinkles. 

See how the cupcake is leaning forward a bit like it's about to tell you a secret?  The secret is: "I'm filled with buttercream!"

It's good to be home. 

Deconstructed Summer Lasagna
adapted from Martha Stewart

8 lasanga noodles
1 tablespoon olive oil plus 1 teaspoon
7 garlic cloves, minced
2 pints (3 cups) of cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half
sea salt
fresh ground pepper
2/3 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 oz parmesan cheese shaved or grated
1/2 lb chicken sausage cooked and crumbled or sliced.

Cook lasagna noodles according to package instructions and drain.

Heat olive oil in a skillet.  Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add 2 cups of tomatoes and season with salt.  Cook until tomatoes are soft.  Roughly break them apart with a spoon.  Add chicken stock and simmer until thickened ("sauce-like").  Add the remaining cupe of tomatoes.  Toss lasagna noodles in sauce to coat.  I like to leave them in the sauce for a minute to let them absorb a little sauce.  Add basil.

To assemble: Place two noodles on a plate.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Top with 1/4 of remaining sauce, ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, chicken sausage, and basil for garnish.  Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper.

Follow up with cupcakes.


  1. Oh..I didn't know you had a blog! I'll have to follow you! I started a blog this summer, but too busy to do anything too much with it!

    1. I want to follow you too, but I can't figure out how! My blogger isn't giving me that option on your blog. Trying to figure it out...

  2. Ooh, this looks like a great way to use up my leftover lasagna noodles! Happen to have a estimated calorie count for this? :)

    1. I don't know how accurate this is, but I put the ingredeents into a calorie calculator and it said 405 calories per serving without chicken sausange.

  3. I feel so barbaric after I read your blogs .

    1. And I feel so silly for writing about cupcakes after reading yours. Does that make us even?

  4. Loved it. The ricotta and cheese shavings are perfect. I could eat just the tomatoes!


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