If there was one crowd-pleasing dinner option out there, that title might just go to the classic lasagna. What with the pasta, protein, “cheese”, and countless veggie options, not to mention all of the flavor variations available, there’s always something for everyone at the table to enjoy. And yet, I will be the first to admit that to this day, I have never made a traditional lasagna. Sure, it has something to do with the long wait time from oven to table, and all of the labor involved if you start from scratch, but really, it’s more than that. I may get booted off the island for saying this, but I find the whole thing far too heavy! Much preferring light meals and decadent desserts, this is one main dish that doesn’t suit my eating habits very well. That’s why when the most recent Daring Baker challenge was announced, my heart dropped all the way to the floor.
The March 2009 challenge is hosted by Mary of Beans and Caviar, Melinda of Melbourne Larder and Enza of Io Da Grande. They have chosen Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna from The Splendid Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper as the challenge.
Seriously, this is wrong! It’s barely even applicable for the group, if you ask me! Has there been some mix-up with the new Daring Cooks starting up soon? I thought in frustration, loath to begin upon this task. Having accepted the fact that the challenge will be something I dislike or am unenthusiastic about 90% of the time now, this was still over the line. For the first time in 1 1/2 years, I truly thought about sitting this one out. Besides, there were plenty of other things to be done, and it wouldn’t kill me to take it easy for this once.
…And if you know me, you would know that I got over it pretty quickly, and began to make some radical changes to make this challenge work for me.
It may look totally different, and be sweet instead of savory, but I promise I adhered to the rules and stuck with all of the required components!
Making my pasta, I threw in a good pinch of ground ginger to perk it up a bit, along with a handful of powdered sugar to sweeten the deal somewhat. After rolling it out paper-thin, it air-dried on the counter for 2 days to get as much moisture out as possible. Of course, I could have easily dehydrated it for an hour or two instead, but I took the lazy approach this time around. The drying step is very important though, because then the little rectangles went straight into… A vat of bubbling oil! That’s right, I fried my pasta!
Once beautifully browned and crisp, my ginger pasta was layered with pomegranate “fluff” made with versawhip, and a simple dark chocolate mousse. The colors were meant to somewhat represent the “tomato sauce” and “meat,” if you will. Placed on a dollop of almond bechamel and finished off with a curlicue of marzipan, it was certainly one of the most unusual lasagnas I had ever seen!
The combination of flavors and textures ensured that each and every bite was just as exciting as the last. This is why I love layered desserts, and I’m just happy I was able to turn an otherwise plain jane lasagna into something that I actually wanted to make!