I cooked something last week that wasn’t very exciting. I’ve been debating whether I should post about it – should I use this blog to only post my cooking successes? Or should I feature everything, cooking flops, warts and all? I figure I’m not a world-class chef on Food Network – I think 80% of my cooking ability is being able to follow a recipe. So everything I cook is not going to turn very well. So I figure as long as I post about it honestly, and do that well and in the right context, then the less-stellar dishes have a place here as well. with that in mind, the dish in question was Pizza Casserole. Sounds great, right? It’s not. It sucked.
I’m actually a big fan of casseroles. If I’m making a casserole, I usually make it big. And heavy. And I usually eat myself into a food coma, rendered immobile in front of the TV, with food dripping down my chest. Maybe that’s an exaggeration (or maybe not).
This seemed like a great recipe on paper, but the execution was lackluster and boring. It was just . . . dumb. And not that I’m trying to push this dumb recipe on you, but I’ll tell you how what I did and you can let me know what you think.
It called for a tomato-ey beef sauce which I made from ground beef, diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. I chopped an onion, sweated that with some fresh garlic and italian seasoning. Added the ground beef and some mushrooms – I cooked it up and made the sauce. I also boiled a package of egg noodles and layered the noodles with the ground beef sauce and mozzarella cheese. By the way, the recipe called for 1/4 cup of cheese. Really? That probably should’ve been my first indication that this was going to turn out lame. I wasn’t having that, so I added a full pound of shredded mozzarella. So there.
So I layered it all up and topped it off with puff pastry. I think that’s the big thing that really intrigued me about this casserole – I like cooking with puff pastry and thought it was a good excuse to use it. I even cut the puff pastry into strips and made a nice woven lattice topping. FUN!
So I threw it in the oven, pulled it out at the right time, just as the puff pastry was perfectly brown and the cheese was all bubbly on the sides. And I remember thinking that I hoped it was gonna be more interesting and more like pizza than it seemed . . .but I quickly dismissed that thought, I guess hoping that Captain Puff Pastry would fly in and save the day. Then when I served it up, it just seemed bland. The noodles were ok, the pastry on top was ok . . . it was all just ok. It seemed like Italian Night at Shady Pines Nursing Home.
I would say to try it if you want, but the idea of writing out the whole recipe kind of wears me out, because A) it didn’t seem very pizza-like and B) it was a piece of crap. (Didn’t stop me from eating 2 big plates full of it though . . . . sigh.) If anyone actually wants the recipe for this sorry excuse of a main dish, shoot me an email and I’ll be glad to send it your way.