About a month or so ago, I saw an episode of Aarti Party that was baby shower themed. One of the items Aarti prepared was "Lasagna Cupcakes," which are essentially little individual lasagnas made with wonton wrappers, rather than noodles. I thought a vegetarian version of this dish would be a cute idea for the baby shower.
Mind you, the original recipe serves 12, and there will be 30 adults and 7 kids. So, I quadrupled the recipe, which meant eight trays of lasagna cupcakes. To get to the eight trays of my version of the cupcakes I needed 112 ounces of canned crushed tomatoes with garlic and italian seasoning, 3 pounds of mozzarella cheese, 3 pounds of grated parmesan, 3 pounds of part skim ricotta, two large onions, four enormous zucchini and 192 wonton wrappers.
|All the ingredients that I was able to fit on the counter.|
The original recipe called for chicken sausage. Normally, when I vegetarianize a pasta dish, I sub mushrooms or eggplant, since they have a nice, meaty texture. However, my sister-in-law is very allergic to both mushrooms and eggplant and you really don't want to poison the guest of honor. So, I decided to go with zucchini, which I thought would be chunky enough to make the sauce interesting. While the Indian elements of the recipe sound good, I decided to omit the mango chutney and the cinnamon and cloves and go with more of an Italian vibe.
|Most of the 48 lasagna cupcakes, pre-baking.|
The sauce making and ricotta filling went well enough. However, when I got to the assembly part, I started to lose my mind a little bit. After all, I was putting down a wonton wrapper, layering sauce and then layering cheese 192 times.
So, at this point, I did what anyone in my position would do at 10:37 in the evening. I called my mother.
"I am about to have a wonton wrapper related psychotic break. Please entertain me," said I.
"How many of these things are you making again?" said Mom
"48. But there are FOUR LAYERS. Plus an individual basil leaf inside each!" said I.
Mom graciously stayed on speakerphone with me through the lasagna building process, which did make the whole shebang go much faster. I ran out of parmesan (I don't think I bought a full three pounds after all), but we have leftover sauce and filling that will go into a pasta in the next few days.
|All 48 lasagna cupcakes!|
I finished all of this around 11:45 and which point I started the second dish, a vegetarian version of Ina Garten's Orzo Pasta Salad from Barefoot Contessa at Home. I've made this one tons of times, and it's great for parties. Ina's recipe calls for shrimp, but it tastes just fine without it.
I triiple-plused this recipe, which allegedly serves 8-10. I used three one pound boxes of orzo, three cups of dill, three cups of parsley, three whole bunches of green onions, one extra large red onion, 14 lemons, two cups of olive oil, two two-foot long hothouse cucumbers, and two pounds of feta cheese. It ended up being so much pasta salad that I had to split it into two bowls while I was making it.
Yes, this is a ridiculous amount of food for 37 people, some of whom are too young to have all of their teeth. It's even more ridiculous when you keep in mind that I have the makings for a large fruit tray and a large veggie tray also in my fridge. Oh, and I'm also not the only person bringing food.
|Lots and lots of lemony orzo pasta salad goodness.|
Have I mentioned I typically make five pounds of mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving? We do at least eat all the leftovers.
Anyhow, five hours later, everything is in the fridge and ready to go for tomorrow. The only things I need to do are load all the food and serveware into the car, reheat the lasagnas, put together the fruit & veggie trays, garnish the lasagnas, take pictures of all the food, eat and watch my sister-in-law open presents. :)