lazy lasagna



i know, i know, no one reads a food blog without the appetizer of a terrific picture. too bad, really, your complaints are filed in my infamous mayonnaise jar. worse yet, today i’m looking at lasagna. imagine.

tell me what you eat and i will tell you what you are. so says brillat-savarin.
as you know i like noodles. growing up, if ever i did, my minaele, grandmother to you, made spaetzla, by hand, noodle board poised, she scraped her dough with a flat knife into a slow boil of salt water. i don’t think she counted, but every thirty-or-so cuts she lifted cooked noodles into a buttery warming pot, from which i managed to fish two, may be three fat ones, before i caught hell ‘cause my hands weren’t clean. i sidestepped the issue, in more ways than one. her quick reach for a dope slap was lightning, her four tooth grin at my escape just as fast. but soon, cussing at the maid she was distracted, and i grabbed a quick other half-a-handful and ran. those spaetzla, the memory of my tongue lingers since.

some fifty years later i am still a novice scraping the noodle wood. my spaetzla are doughy, like sinkers, tough as chewing rubber bands. so i do pappardelle, or strozzapreti and this week, while stephanie is off in spokane, i noodle a one sheet lasagna. i have the pasta rolled out a little thicker, may be half again as thick as for linguine or fettucine. the one-noodle comes off the boil dense with quite a good bite, it is finished in a very hot hazelnut butter and turns crispily tender. i figure a nine-by-nine piece will serve up a portion, done up most likely tonight under a ragout from the freezer. some small roasted cremini, some fleurets of mache, some pignoli and now that it’s spring and we have ramps, i’ll toss in just a few raw bulby slivers to round out the deal.

minaele is a longtime in heaven, still fussing, still minding a stove. she wants me to practice, at least once a week. yes, there are options i might get it right, if by the time i’m eighty.