Got this in an email from America’s Test Kitchen, from their new book “The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook” and adapted it.
Fresh basil tends to be infested with aphids, thrips and other insects. Please check “Special Instructions” below for detailed inspection instructions.
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 lb FAKE ground BEEF substitute. For spicier flavor increase the amount of red pepper flakes)
8 ounces curly-edged lasagna noodles, broken into 2-inch lengths (10)
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 ounce parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 cup)
pepper 8 ounces ricotta cheese (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup minced fresh basil
Pour the tomatoes with their juice into a quart measuring cup. Add enough water to the tomatoes to measure 4 cups. Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and 1/4 teaspoon
salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add the fake meat and cook, breaking up the meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until warm, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle the noodle pieces evenly over the meat. Pour the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce over the pasta. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender, about 20 minutes. (The sauce should look watery after 15 minutes of cooking. If dry, add up to 1/4 cup additional water to loosen the sauce.). Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Dot heaping tablespoons of the ricotta over the noodles. Cover the skillet and
let stand off the heat for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the basil and serve, passing the extra Parmesan separately.
Basil and Insect Infestation:
Fresh Basil and other herbs (including, cilantro, dill, mint, oregano, parslet, rosemary, sage and thyme) are often used as spices or garnishing. Aphids, thrips and other insects may often be found on the leaves and stems of these herbs. Insects tend to nestle in the crevices between the leaves and branches of herbs. These insects can curl up and stick to the leaf once they come in contact with water.
Recommendation: In order to determine if a particular bunch of herbs is infested prior to washing, bang it several times over a white cloth. This is most important when checking oregano, rosemary, sage and thyme. If only one or two insects are found, proceed with the steps below. If three or more insects are detected in a particular bunch of herbs, it should not be used.
1. Soak herbs in a solution of cold water and vegetable wash. The proper amount of vegetable wash has been added when some bubbles are observed in the water. (In the absence of vegetable wash, several drops of concentrated non-scented liquid detergent may be used. However, for health reasons, thoroughly rinse off the soapy solution.)
2. Agitate the herbs in the soapy water, in order to loosen the sticking excretion of the bugs.
3. Using a heavy stream of water, thoroughly wash off the soap and other foreign matter from the herbs.
4. Check both sides of each leaf under direct light.
5. If one or two insects are found, rewash the herbs.
6. If any insects are found after repeating the agitation process twice, the entire bunch must be discarded.