Friday, April 06, 2007

Pasta casserole

I had been imagining a creamy pasta dish for about a week. It would have pools of creamy cheese, between well-seasoned noodly areas, with the usual spinach and mushroom additions. It would have a pleasing tomato sauce throughout, which would perhaps pool up in certain areas. I think part of the inspiration for this was that dish where you make a tomatoey mess in a pan with onions and maybe bacon or something, and then put eggs in little puddles you make with a spoon, and then cook until the eggs are set - sort of Huevos Rancheros without the tortilla? The dish that actually resulted was not like that, but was pretty good regardless.

I sometimes visit the chinese market down the road, and find all kinds of cool stuff. One surprising thing is that the apples there are huge and cheap. Where do they get these apples that the chain grocery stores don't get and if they did would sell for 3 times as much - China? Some other attractive items at the chinese market are all the noodles, and all the tofu. So many varieties! And yet, I have no idea what I'd do with most of them. So I restrain myself, and only occasionally purchase the one-off tofu experiment or noodle bunch. Once I got this seasoned tofu "snack" that I kept looking at for a month before I gave up and threw it out. I'm a chicken sometimes, and it bugs me, so I try not to buy things from there without a plan or an immediate urge to eat the mysterious item Right Now.

On my most recent shopping expedition, I got some fresh spinach noodles, and resisted even touching the Durian. Because if I am afraid of a little tofu, or if I fear that the amount of bok choy I get will spoil, I am deathly afraid of what would happen if I got a Durian, and stored it until it spoiled in my fridge. From what I hear, I suspect we'd actually have to move to escape the aroma.

I combined the spinach noodles, uncooked, with some spinach and feta chicken sausages from Central Market, some ricotta that I mixed with an egg or two and some italian seasoning, some bottled spaghetti sauce (like Classico or Barilla, one of the ones without added sugar or High Fructose Corn Syrup because it pisses me off that HFCS is in pasta sauce - why???), sauteed mushrooms and spinach, and some grated romano cheese. I baked all this until it was bubbly.

It was very tasty, though I admit I had some texture issues with the noodles. I suspect I should've cooked them for 2-3 minutes before casseroleizing the whole thing. The husband, however, didn't mind the texture at all, and said it resembled gnocchi, in a good way. The dish froze well, too, and reheated well for lunch over the next two weeks.

No pictures, but just imagine lasagna. But maybe with green noodles instead.


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