July 20, 2011

Not-Quite-Pasta Bake

Today, I'm featuring a guest post from my daughter who is settling into her new apartment as she prepares to attend grad school.  A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post on Sarah Fragoso's Everyday Paleo cookbook and her Hasta La Vista Lasagna recipe.  Everyone who has made that recipe loves it, including my daughter.  She decided to try a slight variation on the recipe and has declared it a hit.  And it is just one more way to use abundant zucchini!  Here's her post:
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The majority of my friends don't understand my GF and mostly paleo food choices-- they think I'm crazy for not eating bread, cake, etc, etc. It can be a challenge for us to eat together, especially when they want to go out for Italian food, and I've had to be creative in finding middle ground for all our tastes. That said, I love to cook and bake for others. I just moved to a new apartment and am looking forward to cooking for friends, so I've been thinking about recipes that are easily adapted for Paleo and non-Paleo eaters alike. This was the first meal I cooked in my new place, so I had a limited array of ingredients on hand. I had a squash from my mom's garden that I wanted to use, so I decided to riff on her paleo lasagna with squash "noodles" to make a pasta bake.

I made this recipe two ways-- one with squash where pasta would usually be, and one with Tinkyada rice pasta and squash together. (You could also make it with just pasta if you have some picky friends like I do.) I used small stoneware dishes so that each pasta bake could have its own ingredients based on the intended diner. I personally prefer the version with just squash, which has a richer taste than the pasta, but the version with noodles was good too, and I think I could serve it to my non-paleo friends with no complaints. I used panchetta in the sauce but crumbled sausage would also work well-- the important part is choosing a meat to add some extra salty flavor, since the squash and mozzarella are quite mild.


Not-Quite-Pasta Bake

Panchetta
Squash
Rice noodles (optional)
Pasta sauce of your choice
Fresh mozzarella

Fry the panchetta on medium heat and cook the rice noodles while cutting the squash into thin slices. Keep the slices thin, since the heat from the sauce will do the cooking for the squash. When the panchetta is starting to crisp, add the pasta sauce to the pan and let it heat. In individual, oven-safe dishes, layer the squash and sauce as you would a lasagna. If you include noodles in your bake, you can alternate layers of squash and noodles. When each dish is full, put a last layer of sauce on top then slice the mozzarella over the top. Place the individual dishes in a 375 degree oven until the cheese is melted.



Mom's note:  I usually cut the zucchini "noodles" lengthwise, but a couple of people have told me that crosswise works just as well and is a lot easier to cut.  Such a talented daughter <3

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