Make, Jane, make!: Homemade Lasagna Fail


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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Homemade Lasagna Fail

Thought I'd share this homemade pasta mistake with everyone. A few months ago, I decided to make lasagna for a large mommy group lunch at our place. While I debated on whether or not to use store-bought noodles for simplicity's sake, the homemade variety eventually won out. I had a few reasons, the first being taste/texture, the second being that I like my lasagna with lots of layers of thin noodles (versus thick meat and noodle layers) and the third being that layering a lasagna with the insanely large sheets that I usually make is way faster than using those short and skinny store ones.

I had already planned to have the traditional meat and tomato sauce lasagna, and for variety I also made Martha's Rich Artichoke and Mushroom lasagna and a ground chicken and zucchini in tomato sauce variation. I also figured that I should cut down on my workload and split up the cooking over a few days. So the sauces and fillings were prepared one to two days before and the noodles were made the night before.

Here is a glorious "before" picture of the noodles drying.

Some of you may have already spotted my fatal error in the making. Others may realize what tragedy is about to befall these noodles when I remind you that they were left out to dry overnight... in the winter time... with the heat on in the house... and the humidity at an all time low.

The next morning, I awoke early to get a head start on my lasagna assembly. As I was getting dressed, I thought I could hear the sound of papers? or something? falling downstairs. (Yes I know... cue the clueless music.) I headed downstairs oblivious to the scene I was about to walk into, rounded the corner to the kitchen and actually caught sight of a noodle breaking in half, falling to the floor and shattering into small pieces.

I didn't take a picture of this. I was too frenzied and disheartened to comprehend what I should do next. Foolishly, I contemplated making a fresh batch of noodles. But one check of the clock and the knowledge that I would have kiddies waking in less than an hour shot that idea right out the window.

So I salvaged what I could. Many of the noodles were still hanging on by a thread - I carefully broke them in half and removed them from the rack. And luckily, of the noodles that had fallen, many of them still remained in decently sized pieces (chalk it up to making them as large as I can possibly handle them). Fortunately, I had the foresight to place a large towel under the rack before I went to bed to catch any "flour dust" that may have fallen from the noodles as they dried. That towel definitely fulfilled its noodle catching duties...

So lessons learned:

  • Do not hang large noodles over just one rung of my drying rack in the interest of saving space.
  • Don't be lazy about cleaning off the kitchen counters to accomodate a few noodles.
  • Use clean towels over the backs of chairs for drying racks if I'm still too lazy about cleaning those kitchen counters. (What's a little more laundry?)
  • Maybe large, heavy noodles like that should not be left out to dry overnight, with no supervision, in a dry winter home. Perhaps I should have (again) used some clean towels and laid them out in the fridge.
  • Finally, realize that when I set myself multiple tasks expecting a perfectly mature and pristine lunch, I should really keep in mind the true nature of a lunch with 9+ mommies and 11+ kids...

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