I’m revisiting my most popular post of all time: Petite Lasagnas. They caught fire in November 2010 and even now, six months later, I still hear from readers who love them. I say we celebrate those lasagna onesies with a throwback post. Shall we?
One morning, years ago, as I was driving my youngest sister, C, to school, I looked in the rear view mirror and asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up. She thought it through. As thoroughly as one can do at 7:15 am.
I thought too.
Mostly about her as a baby, how I loved watching her grow up. Her toddler-age love affair with gnawing on sticks of butter. Girl after my own heart.
What does someone who, yesterday, was dressed as a Teletubby, want to do with her life? I lowered the volume on the radio, heaven forbid the Pussycat Dolls influence her career contemplation.
She looked down, examined her blue polish, looked up, and squarely said, “a forensic scientist.”
I don’t know what I was expecting her to say.
Perhaps something more in sync with seventh grade. Probably something more along the lines of what I, in my early twenties, was dreaming to be: a singer. I flashed forward to me touring the world, writing songs, singing my little heart out, making sure that my rider was less obscene than J.Lo’s. Just how big a mansion is too big a mansion?
Maybe C’s dream was too practical for my tastes. Too precise and mature.
Maybe I wanted her to watch less CSI and more Dawson’s Creek.
Be like Joey Potter.
Whatever she did, I just didn’t want her to grow up. I hoped she’d stay young and idealistic forever. Put Now and Then on repeat and Sugar Sugar on an endless loop.
I’ve never wanted to grow up.
Even when being older would have been a one way ticket to paradise, I wanted to stay squarely in sixteen.
Maybe all kids who grow up fast and are adults before their time idealize the same forever youth.
We should all build a commune, live like the Brady’s we always wished we were. Dibs on Marsha.
Petite lasagnas walk the line between growing up and staying a kid. They let me fancy bitty things, to enjoy lasagna without the hassle of a full pan. They also let me make a meal as nourishing and satisfying as my Nana would have. Mini but mature.
You grow up being fed and then you become the feeder.
It’s beautiful, really.
The sense of satisfaction that comes from making others smile.
Maybe cooking has become my singing. The chance to express myself and affect others, only in a less obscene and narcissistic way.
If I had my druthers, I’d cook in sequined mini dresses and set up spotlights in my kitchen, paint the walls dayglo at the very least. That way I’ll feel like I thought I would at 26: a superstar singer…with a cupcake tin.
recipe slightly adapted from Hungry Girl
12 oz raw ground turkey
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup finely chopped onion
½ cup finely chopped mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes, or tomato sauce
1 tablespoon dried oregano, divided
1 tsp dried basil
1 ½ cups part skim ricotta cheese
24 small square wonton wrappers (the kind near the tofu in the refrigerated section of the produce department)
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the turkey, onions, mushrooms, salt, and pepper. Crumble the meat and saute the mixture for about 10 minutes, or until the turkey is cooked through. Add the garlic and stir constantly for 30 seconds.
Add the crushed tomatoes and 2 tsp of oregano. Bring the pan to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, a pinch of salt and pepper, the remaining teaspoon of oregano, and the basil. Stir to mix well. Set aside.
Coat a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Place 1 wonton wrapper into each of the 12 cups, pressing firmly in the bottom of the cup and up the sides.
Using half of the ricotta mixture, divide it among the 12 muffin cups. Next, using half of the turkey tomato sauce, spoon it evenly over each of the ricotta filled cups. Sprinkle with 2 tsp of mozzarella.
Gently press another wonton wrapper on top of the mozzarella layer.
Repeat the process by distributing the remaining ricotta, then the remaining tomato sauce, and finally the rest of the shredded mozzarella.
Bake for 10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.
Let the cups cool, remove them from the pan, and serve!
Nutrition Info for 1 petite lasagna: Calories: 181.2, Total Fat: 7.9g, Cholesterol: 41.9mg, Sodium: 389.5mg, Total Carb: 13.6g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugars: 1.6g, Protein 14.1g