The Cooking Chronicles: Classics, Old and New

In recent weeks I made two dishes, both classics in my mind, though one perhaps more recognizably so.

Classic Italian Lasagna

I went back to Giada’s very first cookbook to finally try my hand at lasagna. We’ve made stuffed pastas before, but we’ve never thought to make the layered version.

Giada’s recipe required two separate sauces – a marinara and a béchamel – so I planned ahead and made the marinara the night prior to cut down on the day-of cooking time. We also used fresh pasta (from local company Pasta Time), which meant one less pot as well.

Assembly was straightforward, and in many ways, less labour-intensive than stuffed pastas. After forty-five minutes in the oven, we were greeted with a cheesy, bubbly dish.


Classic Italian Lasagna

Mack’s first critique was that each slice should have been served with an additional ladle of marinara sauce, to which I concurred (sadly, we’re probably much too used to the Americanized version of lasagna). I probably also would have cut down on the amount of spinach (to half) and ricotta (to two-thirds), and used more fresh pasta, given the sheets were actually quite thin. Other than that, it was an indulgent, but comforting dish that yielded a huge amount of leftovers. It’s not something we will make all that often, but I’m happy to have finally tackled!

The New “New Joe’s Special”

In his Food Matters Cookbook, Mark Bittman indicates that every San Francisco restaurant with “Joe” in its name features a dish with the name “Joe’s Special” or “New Joe’s Special” on its menu. As I can’t recall visiting any such restaurant, this hash-type dish was new to me, but it seemed very straightforward in terms of preparation and ingredients, so I marked the recipe for future reference. We tried it for the first time a few weeks ago, and loved it!

Starting with good ground beef (we used Nature’s Green Acres), this hash layers in onions, spinach, mushrooms and some herbs, then incorporates egg and parmesan. And that’s it!

The New "New Joe's Special"

The New “New Joe’s Special”

Served over toast (for us, nothing beats Honey White from Prairie Mill), it was one of the most satisfying recipes we’ve made in recent memory. The key for me was taking the time to cook the mushrooms down – they really are the star of the dish.

Looking forward to trying other classics soon – and with the farmers’ market adding to its fresh inventory every week, there will be inspiration around every corner!

One thought on “The Cooking Chronicles: Classics, Old and New

  1. wow!
    the lasagna looks pretty enuf to be a photo from a cookbook-it looks really good.

    never heard of that fresh pasta co-is it farmers market? or italian centre?

    will look for it in my travels

    happy cooking

    su 🙂 

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