Over the weekend I was trying to come up with some leftover producing dish that we could eat off of for a few meals. Work has been crazy and the resident feline has been ill, which has left little time for most anything that requires too much thought.
However, the impending three day weekend gave me a little more time to prep for a few solid hours of cooking. When asked his thoughts of what sort of leftovers he might be open to, Mr. J. suggested maybe lasagna, but something different.
That reminded me of a recipe I saw and had tucked away for a later date: Fettuccine Meatball Lasagna.
The later date had finally arrived.
I should always be wary of any recipe I immediately want to modify. The recipe itself is kind of a novely. Instead of the standard lasagna noodle, the recipe calls for egg fettuccine. I knew that wasn’t going to fly in my house. It would be deemed too weird to begin with, even if it was good. So, substitution number 1: the old stand-by.
Next up was this: 2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes in juice, drained, reserving juice, and finely chopped.
Not. Gonna. Happen. There is no such thing as a non-mascerated tomato in my home. I certainly appreciate the author’s desire to add some heartiness to this, if this dish was going to get eaten, whole tomatoes would have to go.
Now, on to the sauce:
Tomato puree, check. Onion, check. Garlic, check. 1/2 teaspoon of oregano, chec…huh??? 1/2 a ‘*teaspoon*?? Insanity. A mimium here would be a tablespoon of dried oregano. A *minimum*. Then theres the issue of the omitted basil. Yeah, also not gonna happen. So, basil added…check. In all honesty, I should have added at least two tablespoons of oregano and basil. And some red pepper flakes. And some crushed black pepper…ok,ok you get the point.
What you are looking at is 70 meatballs. The recipe says this should make around 135. Admittedly, I should have followed the instructions and made them 1/2 teaspoon size instead of teaspoon size, but here’s the thing: I had 1.81 pounds of meatloaf mix. That’s almost DOUBLE the recipe. I just don’t see how the original would have yielded that many, but whatever.
The Meatball Pile:
After handmaking 70 meatballs, I had to cook them. 10 at a time in a cup of vegetable oil. Hmmm. I really wasn’t crazy about this method. Don’t get me wrong. I have no real objection to ’frying’ stuff per se, but I think maybe 1/2 cup would have been sufficent…maybe even less.
Sauce, pasta, meatballs, sauce, cheese, pasta…repeat.
I forgot to add that this called for 1/2 lb of fresh mozzerella, 16 oz of ricotta cheese and 1/2 c. of grated romano. Double all of that and we would have been A-Ok.
I must say that for all the complaining, my heart did swell with glee when the little meatball rolled out from beneath the pasta layers as I was plating this. Almost like finding the suprise in the Cracker Jack box. Overall, with the few modifications I made this was good. Not, Oh my god the best lasagna I’ve ever had, good. Just, good.
Lasagna is a time consuming process anyway. By adding the addition step of making the meatballs, this seemed to take even longer. Although, the baking time is much, much shorter.
Will I give up my tried and true Three Cheese Lasagna with Italian Sausage? Probably not. But perhaps, I’ll use that recipe and if I’m feeling like my lasagna needs more fun, make meatballs there.