Friday, March 14, 2008

Enjoying Dinner

Enjoying dinner with kids all depends on how they decide to react to what you put in their plate. One day they’ll eat whatever you put in front of them, without saying a word. The next they’ll be outraged because, horror, you put onions in your pasta sauce! Or “Mom! You put pepper in here, I can SEE the black flecks!”, and so on.

When I decided the other day, inspired by Ricardo yet again, to make a fish lasagna, I wasn’t sure how they’d react. I made it anyway, because, hey, I’m the Mom and I decide what’s for dinner, most the time anyway. I served it to my toughest critics and you know what? They ate it, without a word, they even liked it! So dinner was enjoyed by all and I have to say this lasagna was a welcome change from the usual pasta dish. Cooking the fish inside the pasta is a wonderful idea as it stays moist and tender. And the tomato and cheese sauces didn’t overpower the fish as I had thought it might.

All in all, this was a great dish and I’ll surely make it again. How will the critics react next time? You never know!

Pangasius Lasagna

I used Pangasius for this dish but you could use Tilapia or any other white fish for that matter. Also, I made a cheesy béchamel sauce but you could use cottage cheese or ricotta or even crème fraîche, just as long as you have something creamy in between layers of pasta. If you want to make this even quicker, you can use store bought tomato sauce instead of making your own.

For the tomato sauce:
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 ribs of celery chopped
1-28 oz can of crushed Roma tomatoes
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

For the cheese sauce:
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
2 cups grated cheese (I used a mix of cheddar and Gruyère, but anything would do)
Salt and pepper to taste

For the Lasagna:
12 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
4 Pangasius filets, about 1 ½ pounds
Tomato sauce
Cheese sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper to taste

For the tomato sauce:
In a large saucepan, heat olive oil. Sauté onions, garlic and celery until onions are translucent. Add tomatoes, herbs, salt and pepper, and simmer over low heat for ½ hour to 1 hour. Set aside.

For the cheese sauce:
In a large saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Add flour, stir with a whisk and cook for about 1 minute. Add milk and stir constantly until sauce thickens. Remove from heat, add cheese, salt and pepper, and stir until melted. Set aside.

For the lasagna:
Preheat oven to 350F.
Take out a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of the dish. Lay 4 lasagna noodles on top of the sauce, then add more tomato sauce, a layer of cheese sauce and a little mozzarella. Lay 4 more noodles, tomato sauce, the fish filets, a little more tomato sauce, cheese sauce and mozzarella. Lay the last 4 noodles on top of that, the rest of the tomato sauce, the rest of the cheese sauce and cover with mozzarella. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes, or until the top of the lasagna is golden brown. If it doesn’t get brown enough put it under the broiler for a few minutes, that should do the trick. Make sure to let the lasagna rest for at least 15 minutes before serving as it will be very hard to cut into squares strait out of the oven. Serve with a nice green salad.

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Jessy and her dog Winnie said...

Mmm that looks delicious!

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Oh, I hear you on the difficulties of feeding the capricious appetites of children. Maybe if I didn't tell them there was fish in it, my children might eat it.

Nic said...

What a great new way to cook fish, I like it!
PS. My son stopped eating fish when he was 4, he said he didn't want to eat it because 'the fish wasn't feeling very well'.

Ginny said...

Fish and Lasagna? I would have been a little skeptical but if your kids liked it, I better try it! Looks great!

test it comm said...

That looks good! I like the sound of fish lasagna.

Gretchen Noelle said...

I have to say, I am not sure I would have thought twice about a fish lasagna, but it looks good. I am sure it tastes great.

LyB said...

Jessy - Thank you!

Lynn - Yeah, I used to have to do that but now they actually like fish, for the time being anyway!

Nic - LOL! Aren't kids the funniest?

Ginny - If you like fish, you'll like this!

Kevin - It is very good.

Gretchen - I was a bit skeptical too, at first, but the results speak for themselves!