When lunch hour rolls around in my office, I am constantly asked if I would like to partake in the day’s semi-group lunch order from whatever local fast-food chain. I always politely decline, as I slip out the door into the sunshine. I am lucky that both my home and my parents’ home offer quiet retreats and are located just a few minutes away. I am such a huge believer in unapologetically taking time for one’s self, apart from the standard and norm. Unapologetic is the key. I will not feel bad that I take my entire lunch hour out of the office every day, while the rest mostly stay behind and ingest greasy nothings with plastic cutlery, basted in fluorescent light. I do not need to be told I deserve a break in order to take one. I go visit my mom, munch on something light, and chat over a little tumbler of white wine. On the way back to the office, my windows down and music up, I always feel refreshed, relaxed, and happy. I am not an irresponsible person; I do not dislike my job or the people I work with. I simply find that it is important to live, take small moments for yourself, to avoid unnecessary guilt, and be happy.
The lifestyle of Europeans is usually what I turn to… a generally slower, simpler, and yes healthier way to live. Americans are always-on, and everything is always big. Yet our big lives seem emptier and wanting, by comparison.
With the theme of things, here’s a simple and healthy no-bake lasagna. In-season vegetables, light airy ricotta. It’s gorgeous, like you.
Lasagne pasta sheets (quantity depending on how many portions you want to serve…one serving took 2-3 rectangular sheets, halved)
A good handful of pearl tomatoes
2 small-ish zucchini
1 yellow squash
1 small can of tomato sauce
Seasonings (garlic, salt, pepper)
Start by boiling your pasta sheets according to the instructions on the package they came in. When they are finished, remove them to a plate and drizzle with a bit of olive oil to avoid sticking. Meanwhile, your sauce! Halve the pearl tomatoes and chop the zucchini and squash, then toss them in a small sauce pan with the tomato sauce, a healthy dash of olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. (You may choose to leave your zucchini and squash out of this if you’d like the crunch of them raw. If so, I recommend slicing them thinly, perhaps on a micro-plane, and adding as a separate layer apart from the tomato sauce). Once you feel the sauce is a consistency you’d like, turn off the heat and set aside so you can start building your lasagna.
Start with a little dollop of sauce on the bottom of the plate, then a lasagna sheet on top. (I sliced my rectangular lasagna sheets in half so each layer was a little square instead). Next, a small smear of ricotta, some chopped fresh basil, then more of zucchini-squash-and-tomato, then another sheet. Repeat as many times as you desire! Serve with a good sprinkle of freshly grated parm!
What makes YOU happy?