Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Lasagna With A Twist

Well I confess, I haven't been doing a whole lot of cooking. I've had some truly delicious meals in the last few weeks, especially here and here, but they weren't made by yours truly. I seem to be off my food again and not terribly interested in putting together delicious healthy meals in and around the growing chaos. But The Spouse has been making plaintive, mournful comments about my lack of output in the kitchen and nothing makes me feel guilty like the spousal whine. And when he complains that he has nothing to take for lunch, what he really means is that there's no delicious, cheesy, savory pasta to enjoy midday. Which, when you get right down to it, means there's no lasagna.

It's been uncommonly, horribly, global warmingly hot the last few weeks. Portland is beginning to feel like a city in a different latitude and I haven't adjusted. Ninety degrees before the end of May is just ridiculous as far as I'm concerned. Like the polar bears at out zoo, I just get lethargic when it's hot and could hardly care less about cooking or food in general. Firing up the oven for a pan of lasagna has had no appeal whatsoever lately.

So when today dawned gloomy and cool, I was in heaven. I ran around the house doing useful, productive things like scrubbing counters and tidying the laundry room. And thinking about cooking something solid and hearty and easily divided into lunchtime portions for my beloved.

I can only take so much of a big cheesy dish. While I love homemade macaroni and cheese, I really love a spicy kick-in-the-pants macaroni and cheese. Lasagna can work the same way. I found this recipe years ago in Vegetarian Planet, a great cookbook full of lively, fusion recipes influenced by nearly any cuisine you can think of. At first I rolled my eyes at the thought of "Mexican" lasagna. But reading the recipe I realized that the smoky chipotles in the sauce could make magic. And they do.

You can control the heat of the dish by leaving the chipotles in the sauce or fishing them out, as you prefer. The corn adds a surprising bit of texture and the flavors come together beautifully in this untraditional dish. Like most lasagnas, it reheats, travels, and freezes well, making it a versatile addition to your repertoire. Even if it does sound weird. The recipe is here. Let me know what you think!

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