Cucina Cosmo

7 Sep


One of my favorite pastimes is reading magazines.

I subscribe to Marie Claire for its exceptional personal essays, to Glamour for its hilarious dos and don’ts, to Real Simple for its peaceful layout, to Elle for its comprehensive fashion coverage, and to Cosmopolitan for its hip sex advice.

So I never expected the bedroom Bible to become the authority in my kitchen.

But surprisingly, Katie Lee Joel’s new food column, though a seeming ploy for publicity, has offered some easy, exciting, and, most important, gluten-free friendly recipes.

Her Lasagna Spirals in the September 2009 issue may be meant for a double date, but they proved an ideal dish for my candle-lit solo dinner date with my boyfriend a couple of weeks ago.

I followed most of the magazine’s instructions, including the sputtering trick of adding olive oil to the pasta water, exactly, save for my addition of extra garlic cloves and a few more basil leaves to compensate for the miniature-sized leaves of my very own basil plant seated on the radiator beside my dining-room window.

(A few weeks ago, I was surprised at the $2.99 whole basil plants sitting in the spot usually occupied by plastic containers filled with only basil leaves at my local Trader Joe’s. I’ve been even more surprised, however, at my ability to keep this delicate herb seemingly satisfied.)

My only other alteration to the Cosmo recipe was, of course, the substitution of gluten-free lasagna noodles by Tinkyada. I boiled them for the full 15 to 16 minutes, as recommended on the packaging, and although several of the noodles unfortunately broke in half, they avoided that awful taste usually associated with al dente rice pasta.

The broken noodles, however, proved fortuitous. “I want one of the small spirals,” my boyfriend requested for his third and final helping—a compliment to the recipe since he’d also enjoyed his favorite Texas toast with the lasagna.

Although I didn’t make a corresponding garlic bread for myself, I found a generous helping of salad—composed of greens, black olives, carrots, cucumbers, mushrooms, and tomatoes, topped with Safeway ranch dressing—to be a satisfactory side. It was also a welcome filler during the 10 extra minutes needed to fully heat the spirals’ centers, still cold after the recipe’s suggested 20 minutes in the oven.

But then, I’d enjoyed a cold bite or two as I was preparing these delicious spirals, so I couldn’t complain. And my usually selective boyfriend didn’t say a word, either. In fact, he even took a couple of spirals to work for lunch the next day. I, however, saved one to savor during a leisure moment that weekend as I read my favorite magazines.

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