Astoria, Food and Drink, Guest Bloggers, Shopping
May 30, 2012

Astoria’s Own Bradley Hawks Makes Lasagna Cupcakes

Astorian food writer, Bradley Hawks shares his delicious recipe for lasagna cupcakes and talks about all the local shops he visited to source its ingredients.

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It is our utmost pleasure to introduce a new guest contributor this month, who’s also Astoria’s own food glitterati.  We’re talking about none other than Bradley Hawks, food writer, friend and devoted Astorian who also writes for various local publications and sites such as BORO, Edible Queens, and of course his own site, Amuse*Bouche.

We’re delighted to present you with this little treat from Bradley, as he changing things up a bit, this time offering his perspective on a fun recipe that’s versatile, delicious and makes use of our local food bounty.  Take a look and please enjoy Bradley’s recommendations on where to check out delectable items to spice up your favorite recipe.  Now let’s get to it…

Image courtesy of Bradley Hawks

Bradley’s Lasagna Cupcakes

Lasagna cupcakes are one of the easiest, most versatile morsels I like to make at home, especially when hosting a large group of friends.  It’s my favorite kind of dish: one that demands little time, but garners endless praise from party guests.  Though this particular recipe yields a classic meat lasagna, have fun changing it up to create an edible kaleidoscope of these mini-pasta stacks.  My favorite variations include pesto, fontina, and pine nuts; gruyere, béchamel, and shaved mushrooms with a drizzle of truffle oil; or crabmeat, vodka sauce, and asiago.  A simple visit to a local market can provide fodder for endless inspiration.

After all, while I genuinely love visiting, writing about, and photographing the mouthwatering restaurant landscape in Western Queens, one of the best perks of living in Astoria is the delicious array of specialty food stores bringing gourmet, obscure edibles from every corner of the world.  Although two of my favorite ingredients, pasta and cheese, are fairly common in many specialty markets, Dave & Tony Salumeria (35-18 30th Ave.) offers one of the most expansive selections I have ever seen (not to mention their fantastic cured meats, as the name suggests).  From imported mozzarella di bufala that arrives on Wednesdays or Thursdays from Campania, to an array of homemade cheeses made fresh daily, this is where I go to get the good stuff.  And although this recipe doesn’t call for their specialty pasta, be sure to peruse their endless rows of noodles in every shape and color imaginable.  It is not at all uncommon for me to go there with one recipe in mind, and come home with the components for an entirely different dish.

Image courtesy of Bradley Hawks

Image courtesy of Bradley Hawks

Lasagna Cupcakes

Recipe yields 12 cupcakes

Ingredients

2 cups crushed tomatoes

1 Tablespoon tomato paste

3 garlic cloves, freshly grated

48 wonton wrappers (usually found near tofu in produce section of grocery)

2 large balls of fresh mozzarella (from Dave & Tony Salumeria)

½ cup shredded parmesan

8 ounces of ricotta

1 egg

1 bundle of basil (remove stems and chiffonade the leaves)

Directions

1)    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2)    Spray a 12-cupcake muffin tin with olive oil spray.

3)    Drain mozzarella, slice into thin circles, and set on paper towels to drain excess moisture.

4)   In a skillet, brown beef and season with salt & pepper; drain.

5)    To the drained beef, add garlic, tomatoes, and paste.  Simmer while following remaining steps.

6)    Using the open end of a beverage glass, cut wonton wrappers into circles (you can do multiples at a time).

7)    Combine egg, ricotta, parmesan, and basil. Reserve a little parmesan and basil for garnish.

8)    Begin layering.  Remember, these tins are shallow, so use small amounts. Begin with a wrapper pressed into the tin, a small spoonful of cheese mixture, a small dollop of sauce, and one mozzarella circle.  Repeat using 4 wontons for each cup if you can, ending with cheese on top.

9)     Sprinkle finished stacks with reserved parmesan.

10)  Bake for 20 minutes (edges should be golden), and cool for five minutes.

11)  Use a knife to loosen the lasagna, and transfer to a serving tray.

12)  Garnish with fresh basil, and serve.

2 Comments

Kristin

Sounds really good but how much beef? I don’t see it on the ingredient list. Thanks!

Reply
Lucy

Sounds delicious!
You’ve inspired me to stay in one evening and make myself dinner. Thanks Bradley!

Reply

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