By now, you’ve gathered that we cook incessantly. And we love eating just as much as we love cooking. Lucky for us, we also love to shop for food. In Southern Cali, the grocery options are abounding. Trader Joe’s, Ralph’s, Smart & Final, Jons, Vons, and Gelson’s. Let’s not forget the fresh fare farmers’ markets in each town, including the “Original” Farmers Market at 3rd and Fairfax. And then you have the gourmet and specialty shops such as Sur La Table and Surfas. (Are you tired yet? We are!) Our shopping bliss has taken us every which way and to a variety of places to buy food in the greater Los Angeles area. At this point, we know exactly which places will have the best deals on specific items. Need some pine nuts, for instance? Trader Joe’s every time! And why is a bag of whole carrots usually priced at three bags for $0.99 at Jons! It’s just too much to handle sometimes. We probably even know the layouts of each location better than the employees there (Soy sauce? Right on aisle 3!).
Even with our shopping prowls, we still discover new things in the store each time. It’s the natural consequence of strolling up and down every aisle when we only went in for a carton of eggs. Looking at everything, taking in all the wonder that is overflowing from the shelves. This is exactly what happened to cause this post. Maybe now, you’ll go explore your local grocer and see what pops out at you…just like we did.
We had a simple mission: get the ingredients to make a caprese salad–a tomato, mozzarella, and some fresh basil. Easy! Well, that was until the pasta aisle snatched us right on up! Who doesn’t like looking at all the different pasta shapes, sizes, and colors? And, that’s when it appeared. Sitting next to the cannelloni shells was a box of dry, no-boil lasagna noodles. If you’ve ever made a lasagna, you may have the image of burning your hands on hot, soggy pasta strips that then fall apart into several pieces, and you just don’t know what you’re doing wrong! No-boil noodles are not a new concept, but definitely something we’ve never tried. The next part was a delicious experiment. Caprese salad is usually served cold, but lasagna is hot. We wanted the best of both worlds–the fresh, simple, natural flavor of the caprese salad and the savory elements of traditional lasagna. The result was splendid. We hope you try it!
Turkey Caprese Lasagna – Serves 6 to 8
1 box lasagna noodles
2 larges tomatoes, sliced
2 cups of fresh basil, whole
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
12 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
1 cup mozzarella, shredded
2 turkey breast fillets
1 cup Pecorino Roman cheese, shredded
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/3 cup marscarpone cheese
1 1/2 cups tomato-based pasta sauce
1. Cook turkey breasts (or chicken) in boiling water for about 10 minutes, or until cooked.
2. When the meat is cooked, let cool for 5 minutes. Then pull apart with a fork and knife on a large plate until meat is completely shredded. Set aside.
3. In a deep 9 x 13 baking dish, pour a tiny bit of olive oil into dish and spread over the bottom and sides to coat.
4. In a small bowl, whisk ricotta and marscarpone cheeses with egg and a dash of salt and pepper. Set aside.
5. Begin to make layers in the baking dish: start by lining bottom of dish with the pasta noodles, then evenly spread ricotta mixture over pasta, followed by a layer of tomato, mozzarella slices, basil, turkey and a bit of tomato sauce. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and shredded Pecorino Romano cheese. Repeat, ending with noodles.
6. Spread top layer of noodles with any remaining pasta sauce. Top with grated mozzarella cheese, chopped basil and any remaining Pecorino.
7. Bake for 50-60 minutes in a preheated oven at 350 degrees or until cheese browns and bubbles. Let sit for 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with more chopped basil.
Click HERE for the printable recipe.