In Italy, a bowl was something special. Often given at special occasions such as weddings or christenings, they would become part of the family. Each scrape of the spoon; another mark on life to be noted and remembered. Una ciotola è come amici – pochi ma ben scelti. As bowls were few, dishes tended to very simple affairs – a lasagne, for example, would be a simple combination of ragu and white sauce. A salad – some lettuce with ripe tomatoes.
In today’s industrialised society, we have lots of bowls. So why not celebrate by using a shitload of ingredients and and a whole cupboardful of the hemispherical fuckers?
Tadah! The multi ingredient lasagne for hungry pre-Blackwood Marathoners.
My lasagne had the following:
– silverbeet steamed and then lightly tossed in a pan with chopped walnuts
– tomato sauce. Quarter two kilos of ripe tomatoes place in a roasting tin with half a head of garlic cloves, olive oil and salt. Roast at 150C until soft. Breakup in a frypan and run through a colander. Return to the frypan to mix through a couple of tablespoon of tomato paste and to cook down to the right consistency.
– smoked chicken breast, sliced. This is what helps to bring the chicken flavours up in the mix rather than just sit there like sauce-coated chewable protein chunks.
– similar amounts of raw chicken – thighs or breasts or both. Cubed and then lightly browned and cooked with 8 sage leaves.
– eggplant. Sliced into cm slices, lain in a roasting tray coated in olive oil. Drizzle a bit of the olive oil on top and allow to soften in the oven at the same time as the tomatoes.
– broccolini, asaparagus, and something that looks a lot like broccolini but is purple. Steamed and chopped.
– white sauce.
– button mushrooms. Sliced and cooked in butter.
– mozarella, parmesan, and butter on the top with white sauce.
Layer as you see fit. I actually can’t remember what went with what and the more I try, the more confused I become. I think the smoked chicken went with the mushrooms and the eggplant and some white sauce. And the chicken with silverbeet. I hate doing white sauce. For one, it takes forever. For two, it doesn’t help with cooking through the butter and flour if you don’t turn the hotplate on. For three, it makes me think of a thousand failed Home Ec assignments – really, it’s like walking on the bones of the dead. Beautiful fresh pasta was very nicely hand made for me – class.
Our crack team ‘The Mescaleros’ went on to rag tag glory of 23rd out of 84 horseless competitors. I reached my own personal cycling leg goal of a time somewhere between 40-50 minutes, not having a myocardial infarction and heatstroke, and not being overtaken by a mountainbike. Other features included swimmer getting lost, our paddler having his boat the wrong way, and our runner wearing a heavier t-shirt than perhaps he could have worn given the hot weather (that’s not all that interesting but I had to round it out a bit).
Lasagne was great. All possible nutritional bases covered and a lovely mix of meaty, crunchy, earthy, cheesey, fresh and acid tomatoey. Sure it’s a lot of faffing around but friends are worth it. Rhubarb clafoutis for dessert.