So, they say that cooking at home, from scratch is less expensive than going out or eating pre-made meals. Usually this theory seems pretty accurate but as I paid for groceries last night, I began to seriously question it’s validity, at least as a hard and fast rule. $78 was the total for my purchase of groceries for the lasagna dinner I had planned. This included lasagna made from scratch, pre-made garlic bread ( I made my own for a while but, honestly, when you are spending 2 hours on the main course, it is worth it to just be able to stick it in the oven and relax with a glass of wine) and Caesar Salad made from scratch. This DID NOT INCLUDE WINE!
After getting over the sticker shock, I went over my purchases and found the culprits, cheese (never cheap if you get the good stuff) and San Marzano canned tomatoes. They were about $7 for a 28 oz can and I got 3 of them. Later, back in the kitchen, I tasted the plain tomato puree before I added it to the onion, garlic and crushed tomatoes that I has simmering on the stove and I realized why they cost $7! I could have eaten that puree plain, with a big spoon! It was so sweet and tomatoey and tasted of sun. If it costs $7 to bottle sunshine, sign me up!
I loosely followed Giada’s recipe but I made some of my own changes. I simplified the sauce by just using the canned San Marzanos, half of one large onion, 4 garlic cloves, red pepper flakes and the addition of fresh basil just before taking it off the heat. I omitted the carrot and celery in Giada’s recipe and combined the tomato sauce with about half a cup of bechamel rather than the 1 1/2 cups called for in the recipe. I think it made it taste much more fresh clean.
Instead of frozen spinach, I used fresh which I wilted with a little bit of oil and squeezed the moisture out of. It tasted much sweeter and less bitter.
To the ricotta and egg mixture I also added fresh parsley which kicked it up quite a bit.
All in all, it was delicious and now we have 6 more meals…so really, our lasagna dinner only cost $9.50 per person…actually a pretty good deal when you think about it 🙂
Don’t forget that you topped it with moz, parm, and fresh moz. The creamy stringyness of the fresh moz was my favorite!
hungreh. feed meh. yum. i’m moving into your guest room.