Wednesday, October 15, 2008

World Food Day

Tomorrow is World Food Day. It was established on October 16th, 1981 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to bring awareness to the many food issues facing us at the end of the 20th century and into the 21st.

There’s both hope and dismay about this issue. Hope because we have the ABILITY to feed everyone that needs it and dismay because it’s such a monumental task and growing bigger every minute.

The World Food Programme is one organization that works towards alleviating global hunger and poverty. In 2007, they fed over 86 million people, in part with their “Fill The Cup” program. It takes just 25 US cents to fill one of the "Red Cups" that the World Food Programme uses to give hungry children a regular school meal of porridge, rice or beans.

Two fabulous food bloggers, Ivy from Kopiaste and Val from More Than Burnt Toast, are hosting a blogging event to celebrate World Food Day.

This is the idea: to post a recipe that feeds 6 people and is a family favorite and/or representative of the heritage of your family or country. Enough people posting recipes could, symbolically, be enough to feed our local community, region, country, hemisphere…even the entire WORLD, if placed end to end. This, in turn, could spur more activity at local food banks, soups kitchens and the like.

While we spend time cooking for our families and friends, we can also enter into the debate on the world food crisis. Adam and Jenn, two of my favorite food bloggers, are also participating.

I decided to make Lasagna Rolls, which, in addition to being delicious, are budget friendly. I was able to make this recipe for about $12 with careful shopping.

Lasagna Rolls (serves 6-8)

12 uncooked lasagna noodles (with curly edges)
1 onion, chopped
1 tbl. olive oil
½ box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed out
15 oz part skim ricotta
½ cup parmesan or pecorino romano
8 oz. part skim mozzarella, shredded
2 tbls. unsalted butter
3 tbls. flour
2 ½ cups milk (any, but skim)
1 jar tomato sauce

Cook lasagna noodles according to package instructions. Drain and cover with cold water until ready to use.

Soften onion in olive oil until completely soft. Stir in spinach and cook for one minute. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together the ricotta, parmesan and half the mozzarella. Stir in onion and spinach. Taste for seasonings.

For béchamel sauce, melt butter in medium saucepan. Stir in flour. Cook on low heat for 3 minutes, stirring. Raise heat to medium high and pour in milk gradually, whisking all the time. Bring to the boil and let simmer gently, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes or until nicely thick. Taste for seasoning. Set aside with a piece of plastic wrap over the top to prevent a skin from forming. (See note below.)

Meanwhile, fill lasagna noodles. Lay three lasagna noodles out on a cutting board.

Spread 3 generous spoonfuls of the ricotta mixture on each noodle.

Roll up like a jelly roll.

Slice each filled roll in half.

Continue with rest of noodles.

Here are two ways of assembling it:

The first one looks really pretty. You’ll see the curly edges of the pasta rolls, (but they WILL dry out just a bit).

Pour three-quarters of the jar of tomato sauce on the bottom of a Pam-ed 9 x 13 glass baking dish. Place the lasagna rolls on top, curly edges up.

Place a dollop of reserved tomato sauce on top of each roll and then place a healthy spoonful of béchamel on each roll. OR do it in reverse, béchamel first, topped with a spoonful of tomato sauce.

Sprinkle the other half of the mozzarella on top. If you have béchamel sauce left, spoon it in between the rolls, so you don’t cover them up. Bake, uncovered, at 375°F for 45 minutes.

The second way is put it together more like a regular lasagna.

Put a bit of tomato sauce in the bottom of your Pam-ed 9 by 13 dish. Place the rolls, curly side up, in the dish.

Spoon tomato sauce in lines between each line of lasagna rolls.

Fill in the alternate lines with béchamel. (The béchamel will be covering the actual lasagna rolls.)

Top the whole thing with cheese or you can just cover the béchamel part with cheese, leaving the red tomato part peeking out.

Bake, uncovered, at 375°F for 45 minutes.

Note: This is made with a quick white sauce. Be my guest, if you want to enhance it by heating the milk with the heel of an onion, bay leaf and a few whole peppercorns and letting it steep for 10 minutes, before stirring it into the roux.


Emily said...

That looks delicious! I love the second presentation.

Ivy said...

Thanks very much for participating in the World Food Day Event. I love those lasagna have not seen them before.

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Today is World Food Day...come on over and party with us. Thank you for wanting to contribute and spreading the word for this global issue. Now let's DANCE!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Cooking/baking question:

Now that I am living is Israel, I am finding that people who claim "Oh, they have plenty of good dairy! Don't worry!" are misguided. I have discovered that they don't take the cream out of the milk, so the 3% milk here tastes like half-and-half. I'm wondering how this will affect my recipes, particularly baking.

There is plenty of cheese here. It is all very white, it is all very salty, and none of it melts very well. But there is plenty of it. My dreams of making a decent lasagna are all but dashed.


Lo said...

Those rolls look delish! So many great people are participating in World Food Day! I can't believe I missed it.

Adam said...

Happy World Food Day Sue! I love your lasagna, I think it's perfect for an event like this. Feeding 8 people for as little at $12 is a nice thrifty way to show how to get a tasty meal on a budget. And thanks for the shout out :)

Anonymous said...

looks yummy,mmmm thank you.

Anonymous said...

this is mmmm looks yummy.thank you

Ramya Vijaykumar said...

Wow, Lasagna looks great... Lately I fell in love with Pasta, the colors and texture looks awesome...

La Cuisine d'Helene said...

These are beautiful. What a great dish.

Sue said...

Thanks, Em.

My pleasure. It was wonderful that you and Val took that on.

Hi Val,
You two did a great job. I'm boogying right now.

Living overseas does have its challenges, especially with a baby, but it is exciting that you're living in Israel.

The thing about the dairy is something I dream of, where someone says, oh, sorry, whatever milk you buy tastes like half and half. I'm trying to figure out what the problem is exactly.

Everything you use it in will taste better and be richer. Batters will be thicker (so will waists, but who cares? You'll be walking a lot). Coffee will be creamier. I am amazed they don't have a usual assortment of cheeses, though. I guess you should cook what they cook. Enjoy.

Thanks. Don't worry about missing this. I didn't know about Blog Action Day until I read your blog.

Thanks Adam,
Your kapusta was a great idea for World Food Day.

Hi Sekerziyafe,
Thanks so much.

Hello Ramya,
Thank you. Please visit again.

Thanks for stopping by. The lasagna rolls are good and fun to make as well.

Lys said...

Oh now THAT is a recipe I must try... and I love the idea of cutting them in half, Sue!

Sue said...

Thanks Lys!