Roasted vegetable lasagna

January 25, 2010

Here’s the recipe I was originally going to share:

Wretched January

  • 1 earthquake
  • 1 removal of limits on corporate campaign financing
  • 1 healthcare reform bill at risk of deflating like a botched soufflé
  • 1 f#@%ing roof leak
  1. Combine all ingredients.
  2. Season with endless hours of darkness.
  3. Serve cold.

But, I actually have a cheery addendum.  Mr. Onepot informed me earlier that a lasagna would make him feel better–this from a man who never makes food requests!  I mean, he’s equally happy regardless of whether he’s eating a decadent multi-course meal or some strange whole grain/mystery fungus experiment of mine.  So how was I to say no?

Roasted vegetable lasagna

  • 3 red bell peppers
  • 2 zucchini

(What’s that?  You’re about to tell me that those are not in season?   You know what’s in season in Chicago right now?  Icicles.  So let’s move on, shall we?)

  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 lb frozen spinach
  • 1 lb cottage cheese
  • 1 28oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 8oz cans tomato sauce
  • 1 box no-boil lasagna noodles
  • a fistful of shredded cheddar, a bit of parmesan, and some gorgonzola crumbles
  • capers
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. I seasoned the first 3 ingredients and roasted them at 400F for 25 minutes.
  2. Then I combined them with spinach, cottage cheese, and diced tomatoes.  Yup–all together just like that.
  3. Then it was time to layer, and there’s really nothing to tell.  I used 1 little can of tomato sauce under the bottom noodle layer and the other on the very top.  In between: a layer of vegetable+cottage cheese mixture, a sprinkling of other cheeses, a layer of noodles, and so on and so forth until I ran out of ingredients…
  4. …and heaved the overflowing dish, cursing a little, into the 380-degree oven.  It spent the first 45 minutes in there bashfully covered with aluminum foil, and the final 10 minutes naked, under a sprinkling of cheese and capers.

Ah, it was good.  And, as we patted our full bellies, we started to feel just a tad hopeful again.

For starters: the roofer comes tomorrow.

How about something a whole lot prettier than that ugly pie?  Here, try this:

Orzo with roasted tomatoes and eggplant

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 14oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 Chinese eggplant, diced
  • 1/2 box orzo, cooked for 9-10 minutes
  • a couple of glugs of olive oil and balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh herbs and cheese (optional)
  1. Toss the onions and eggplant with salt, pepper, vinegar.
  2. Bake at 400F for 20 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes and bake for another 15 minutes.
  4. Serve over orzo with herbs and cheese.

That blissful holiday weekend of near-hibernation made me realize that my attitude toward the Dark Season has been totally misguided.  Instead of putting up a fight, I should just succumb to it!

Between now and March, then, I will answer the call of the me-shaped dent in the sofa as soon as each day’s duties are over, getting up only occasionally to knead some dough, and stir a pot, and get more wine.

So, to kick off this Dark Season Management project, how about a dish that involves kneading and stirring and wine?…

Yam gnocchi

  • 2 roasted yams
  • 1 egg
  • 2.5 cups whole wheat flour
  1. Combine everything in a mixing bowl.
  2. Knead!
  3. Shape the dough into two long logs on a flat surface.
  4. Cut it into bite-sized gnocchi.
  5. Cook gnocchi in boiling water for 5 minutes; drain and serve.


Chunky roasted tomato sauce with kale and carrots

  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 14.5 oz cans roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 bunch kale, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 carrots, shaved into strips (use a vegetable peeler)
  • 1 glug of red wine (+ 1 glug for the cook, while you’re at it)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Saute the onion and garlic for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add a splash of wine and let it deglaze for another minute or so.
  3. Add the tomato sauce, kale, carrots.
  4. Cook on low for ~20 minutes.
  5. Serve over the gnocchi–with some feta crumbles, perhaps?


To put together a classic jury duty day you will need:

  • 1 jury summons, clutched in a sweaty palm as you make your way downtown at an obscenely early hour
  • 2 trips through the metal detector and 1 intimate session with the lady with the hand-held device
  • 1 riveting piece of cinematography titled “You, the Juror”
  • dangerously low levels of caffeine, lest you should need to pee while being questioned by the judge
  • 1 person with a juicy cough, seated right next to you
  • 6 hours of mind-numbing boredom, butt-numbing seats, and low-grade anxiety
  • 1 check for $17.20, at the end of it all

Oh wait–you’re here for that squash pasta sauce I promised in the title?  Right!  Let me start over.

Here’s how to assemble a luscious pasta dish with a touch of autumn:

  • 1/2 large onion
  • innards of 1 roasted  (or microwaved) acorn squash
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 box of whole wheat pasta (something chunky, like farfalle, will hold the sauce well)
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • dashes of turmeric, cinnamon, chipotle pepper, salt, oregano
  1. Saute the onion and squash for a couple of minutes.  Add the tomatoes and seasonings and let it all simmer, covered, while you prepare the pasta and kale. Look how happy you’re going to be every time you peek under the lid:IMG_4342
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Throw in the chopped kale and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add the pasta and cook for another 10 minutes.
  3. Drain.  Serve.  Eat.  Be glad you don’t have jury duty any time soon.