Sunday, 6 May 2012

Italian Bread Sticks and Lasagna with Slow-Roasted Tomato Sauce

One of the May breads for the Mellow Bakers is Rosemary and Fresh Cheese Sticks from Dan Lepard’s The Handmade Loaf or The Art of Handmade Bread. I was waiting for the right menu and occasion to bake them. My youngest son came home from college this past weekend so this was a good opportunity to make a special meal.  We both love bread sticks so that was the first item on the menu and I built the rest of the meal around that.


I made the bread sticks with almond milk instead of whole milk and used instant yeast instead of fresh yeast. I wasn’t sure how the almond milk would work, but it’s all I had so I decided to go with it. The dough was really sticky due to the soft, all-purpose flour so I added more olive oil.

Here are the photos on how to shape and bake the bread sticks.


Roll out the dough into a rectangle


Cut into strips using a pizza wheel.


Stretch dough into long strips; not too long or they won’t fit on the baking sheet.


Place the strips on parchment-lined baking sheets.


1st batch of baked bread sticks.


2nd batch of bread sticks.


I found the perfect companion to this meal in the May/June Issue of Eating Well Magazine.  It’s a lasagna with slow roasted tomato sauce. Bingo!  Did someone say roasted tomatoes? 

Last year, I had an abundance of tomatoes. In fact, at the end of the season, I ran out of things to do with them so I slow-roasted a bunch and froze them in pint-size canning jars. 

As I was planting this year’s tomato plants, I remembered I still had several jars of the slow-roasted tomatoes in the freezer. Since I just finished planting about 40 tomato plants, I decided I better use up some of my surplus from last year. If my harvest this year is anything like it was last year, I’ll have more tomatoes than I can shake a stick at.  Not sure why I would want to do that, but that’s how the saying goes.


Lasagna with Slow Roasted Tomatoes



Here is the recipe I used:

I made the sauce with 3 pints of tomatoes that I had slow-roasted and frozen last year, but you can easily slow roast the tomatoes on the day you plan to make the lasagna; just allow an extra couple of hours.



I enjoyed building this lasagna with layers of tomato sauce, ricotta cheese and fresh baby spinach leaves.



And don’t forget the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. 



Next time I’ll use regular mozzarella cheese. I wasn’t thrilled with the reduced-fat shredded mozzarella cheese that the recipe called for. It doesn’t melt very well; however, it tasted fine. 



My son and I enjoyed this lasagna. It’s a good recipe to build on. I like the depth of flavor the slow-roasted tomatoes give the sauce. It really bumps the flavor up a notch. However, I think it needs more herbs and my son would like more cheese, but he did say it’s the best vegetable lasagna I’ve made. From a meat eater, that’s saying something.



The bread sticks tasted good but I think they would be even better with more rosemary and salt. The recipe only called for one sprig of rosemary, but I think it could use more.  I have a huge rosemary plant so no need to skimp there.

If I make this recipe again, I’ll make the strips a little thinner so they’ll bake up more crispy. I baked the bread sticks longer than the recipe indicated because they weren’t browning. The thinner strips turned out crispier than the other ones.  Both had a good flavor, but the crispy ones were definitely better.  I usually like soft bread sticks, but for this version, I prefer the crispy ones.  Go figure!



The meal turned out good and the bread sticks were a delicious accompaniment to the lasagna. Um, I mean the lasagna was a good accompaniment to the bread sticks. This meal is definitely worth another try with some minor adjustments and a salad.  I forgot that part. :)


Happy Baking!


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