I haven't been doing as much sewing since I shipped the last of my custom orders on Monday. Instead, I've been finishing up handmade gifts and sending off some Christmas packages. Now that my creative work has slowed down, I realize once again how essential making is to my life.
Sometimes when I am really busy, I wish I could just take a break and stop making, but now that I'm not doing as much, I realize that I can't stop. Creating is sustenance just as necessary as food. Not creating feels like telling myself I'm not hungry and I don't need to eat. I haven't figured out how to seamlessly combine my interests in making objects (both for my shop and other projects like quilts, knitting, books) and creating the homemade foods that come from my kitchen. For me, it is all part of the handmade life that I aspire to and engage in as much as I can.
In this season of consumption, I find myself tempted to buy things until I realize that creating them myself can perfectly satisfy this urge. I sincerely wish to share the creative impulse and possibilities with all of you and in the new year I hope I can do more to inspire you to keep creating.
This final post of my handmade lasagna series has me thinking about all of this creativity and why it is so satisfying. Pasta, cheese, sauce and vegetables are all individually quite nice, but put together in a pan and baked in the oven, the resulting whole is more than the sum of its parts. I believe this to be true when making anything by hand. When I am fully involved in the process, the whole thing becomes even more than just a bite of food, it is nourishing in many ways. I can't really articulate why the act of making and creating is so important, I wish I could explain it better. If you have any thoughts or ideas about handmade and homemade, please share them in the comments.
Lasagna from Scratch
If I had homegrown veggies, I would, of course use them, but I bought a selection from the store. I like to put plenty of green among the layers of red and white, but you can use any vegetables that appeal to you. I don't usually make the mozzarella cheese which covers the top of the lasagna, but I hope to share a mozzarella recipe with you soon.
Approximately 2 batches homemade sauce (depending on how much sauce you want to add, I found that one batch was not enough)
1 batch homemade pasta
1 quart ricotta (my homemade version)
1 1/2 cups zucchini, cut into quarters lengthwise and then slices into little triangles
1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
2 cups baby spinach leaves
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat the oven to 350'. In a 9x13 inch glass baking dish, pour 1/2 cup of sauce and spread it over the bottom of the pan. Add a layer of noodles, to cover the bottom of the dish. They don't need to overlap, but they should be almost touching so that the bottom of the dish is completely covered. Evenly distribute the zucchini over the noodles. Spread 1/3 of the ricotta over the noodles. Cover the zucchini and ricotta with sauce. Then, add another layer of noodles, with mushrooms, ricotta and sauce on top. Next, another layer of noodles, spinach, ricotta and sauce. Add the final layer of noodles and pour the rest of the sauce (or as much as you would like) over the whole pan. Top with the mozzarella. The layers will be very close to the top of the baking dish. Everything should settle as it bakes.
Cover the pan with a layer of foil and bake for about 45 minutes. If serving right away, let it cool for about 15 minutes. Lasagna is wonderfully flavorful when reheated so you can bake it ahead of time and then put it back in the oven to heat before serving.
Makes plenty for 6-8 people