BosGuy cooks: Spinach lasagna

Keeping with the theme of good Italian-American comfort food recipes that are great to make in the winter, this week I’m sharing a modified recipe I found on the web and made my own. I prefer to make this without meat because it is a little lighter, and I use a shortcut that would make adding meat more tedious.

There are three phases to this recipe. The first phase requires the food prep (chopping your veggies). The second phase requires making the filling and boiling the pasta (ever so briefly). And finally, the third phase involves assembly and baking. The ingredients you will need for this recipe include:

1 box of lasagna pasta
1 1/2 jar of good marinara sauce
8 oz of mushrooms (I use baby bella)
1 sweet onion
3-4 garlic cloves
2 bags of prewashed baby spinach
16 oz of Ricotta cheese
4 oz of shredded mozzarella cheese
4 oz of grated Parmesan cheese

1 egg
Salt
Pepper
Italian parsley
Italian seasoning
Oregano

Phase 1: The Prep

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, lightly oil your baking pan and start to boil your water in a large pot for the lasagna. Roughly chop the mushrooms and parsley and mince the garlic and onion then set aside.

Phase 2: Making The Filling

Add olive oil to a pan on medium high heat and sauté the onions. As they start to soften turn the heat down to medium and add the garlic and mushrooms. After they cook, remove and place in the refrigerator to cool. In the same pan, add a drop or two of olive oil, your spinach and a pinch or two of salt. Stir to prevent from sticking to the pan – this should wilt in 1-2 minutes – and take out to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, add the Ricotta cheese, half your grated Parmesean cheese, egg, sautéed veggies and spinach. The vegetables don’t need to be cold but you don’t want them to melt the cheese. Blend or mix these ingredients so they evenly combine. Then add a cup of roughly chopped parsley and a healthy amount of black pepper and dried seasonings (don’t be shy with this) and stir until combined then set aside for assembly.

Once the water is boiling and you’ve finished your mixture (see above) add your lasagna. My mother doesn’t bother with this step, but I boil the lasagna for about 5 minutes so it is easier to manage. If you don’t briefly cook the pasta it is more difficult to manipulate and trim to fit into your baking dish.

Phase 3: The Assembly & Bake

Drizzle a little oliver oil on the bottom of your baking pan and use a paper towel to spread evenly along the bottom and sides. Then place one layer of lasagna so it completely covers the bottom of the baking pan. This is where having a pliable pasta you can trim makes assembly so much easier.

Then take approximately 1/3 of the cheese fillling and spread it on top of the lasagna noodles. I use a good jarred marinara sauce and pour it over the cheese mixture, using my spatula to spread so it completely covers the cheese filling. Then add a thin layer of shredded mozzarella. Repeat this process two more times so you have three layers of pasta, cheese sauce, red sauce and mozzarella. Finally, sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the top of the lasagna.

Cover the baking pan with foil to your preheated oven and bake for 1 hour. If you want extra red sauce with your lasagna, now is the time to make a quick sauce to serve on the side. I use the same jarred sauce and heat it up with some diced onions and parsley.

Scruffy Sunday

Brian Morr is a menswear and lifestyle blogger who calls Manhattan home. You can check out his blog, Sink the Sun. I liked this photo which he posted this past fall and thought it made for a great Scruffy Sunday post.

Previous Scruffy Sunday Posts

Saturday morning coffee

I had no idea that grey sweatpants and coffee made for such a compelling pairing.

Saturday morning comics

ADAM & ANDY is set in the fictional New England town of Woodfield, CT. You can learn more about Adam and Andy and purchase a copy of “the definitive collection of Adam and Andy” by visiting, adamandandy.com.

Click on this week’s comic strip to enlarge

Click here if you would like to see  the previous Adam & Andy

Pop up restaurant opens in South End

Nu Burger has opened within the Anoush’Ella restaurant space on West Newton Street in the South End as a “virtual pop-up”. Nina and Raffi Festekjian, who own Anoush’Ella and Nu Burger, are serving burgers for lunch and dinner seven days a week, while also continuing to serve Anoush’Ella’s menu.

Sergio and I wanted to show our support by trying out the new burger pop-up so we ordered from them this past Tuesday night. The Nu Burger menu has six different burgers (one a vegetarian option) each $12.50.

Shown above are the Fenway NuBurger served with pickles, cheddar, tomato, onion, lettuce and sauce with a side of French fries and the Umami Truffle NuBurger served with pickles, pecorino, truffles, fried egg, tomato, shallot, arugula and aoli with a side of French fries. Customers can order via this link for curbside pick up, or via popular food sharing apps for home delivery.  

The burgers are large and very filling. The baked French fries are good but I still prefer more traditional “fried” fries. I’m observing dry January so I had a glass of water with my dinner, but I can’t help but feel like these would go great with a cold beer, which Anoush’Ella serves. I didn’t see this option for take out orders but assume you can add beer to your order. Overall, we really enjoyed the bugers and will order from them again. I can’t think of a legitimate burger joint in the South End which makes this a very welcome addition to the neighborhood so let me know what you think when you order from NuBurger.

Nu Burger’s permanent home is located in Fenway at the TimeOut food market, but that is currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. For the time being, there is a new burger option in the South End.

Furry Friday

Thank goodness it’s furry Friday, TGIFF.

Past Furry Friday

BosGuy brain teaser

riddle, exercise for your brainEach Friday morning I post a riddle to get you to think outside the box and exercise your brain. If you are stumped, share it with a friend or colleague and see if you can figure out the answer together.

I’ll confirm answers in the afternoon so don’t worry if you don’t see your comment posted right away. I want to give everyone a chance to guess.

This week’s brain teaser is tough and was initially shared late last year on NPR’s program, Sunday Puzzle, by Wesley Davis of Black Mountain, N.C. .

This week’s brain teaser: Name an animal and spell it backward. Now name a variety of meat and insert it inside the animal’s name that you’ve spelled backward. A common word will be revealed. What is it?

If you need a hint hit me up.

Like riddles? Check out past week’s brain teasers.

Book review: Bunker Hill by Nathaniel Philbrick

Nathaniel Philbrick’s 2013 book, Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution, was difficult to put down. Philbrick paints a picture of pre-revolutionary Boston, the historic battle the book is named after and the siege of Boston until the British fled a year after the historic battle that will appeal to fans of American history.

Most Americans learn about colonial life and the American Revolution in school, but Philbrick provides much more detail than I ever recall learning. Chalk full of historical events, personalities and dates, the book reads as easily as any story but is all the more compelling because this is not the imagination of a talented author but are events that altered the trajectory of history. To quote Mark Twain, “truth is stranger than fiction”. Had Las Vegas existed, I can’t imagine what the odds would’ve been for this rag-tag group of disgruntled and disagreeable troublemakers a.k.a. “Patriots” to win on the battlefield against the British.

The Americans had lost 115 killed and had 305 wounded, with most of the casualties occurring during the retreat. Of the approximately 2,200 British soldiers in the battle, close to half — 1,054 — had been killed or wounded. The British had been victorious, but as Howe wrote, ‘The success is too dearly bought.’ “

Sometimes I refrain from reading a book if I already know the story so I’m glad I picked this up and would absolutely recommend it. It was fascinating to learn about the many people living in Boston at the time. A few that come to mind that I never heard of before reading this book include the poet Phillis Wheatley, born in 1753 in West Africa. She became a freed slave in Boston and bears the distinction of the first African-American author of a published book of poetry. The duplicitous traitor, Dr. Benjamin Church, was a contemporary of Benjamin Arnold. He did his best to undermine the efforts of colonialists after earning their trust and nearly succeeded. However, I was most surprised to learn about Dr. Joseph Warren who was the defacto leader of the resistance in Boston. If he had survived the Battle of Bunker Hill, he may very well have become the leader of the Continental Army in Boston and not George Washington.

If you’re interested in purchasing this book and open to supporting local bookstores, try one of the links I’ve shared below, which takes you right to the book so you can order it online in just a couple of clicks. Alternatively, you can check your local library for a copy of this New York Times Bestseller.

Brookline Booksmith in Coolidge Corner
Harvard Bookstore in Harvard Square
Porter Square Bookstore in Porter Square
Trident Bookseller’s & Cafe in Back Bay (currently less than $10.00)

Vintage gay

This week I’m featuring three men who for nearly twenty years lived in a polymorous relationship in the first half of the 20th century. Monroe and Glenway first met in 1919 at the Poetry, Club of the University of Chicago when Monroe was twenty and Glenway was eighteen. In 1927 the two would meet George and form a unique bond. Back in 1998 a picture book of this thruple’s travels through Europe between 1925 – 1935 called When We Were Three “The Expatriate Years” was published. It is amazing to think the eyebrows these three must have raised wherever they went.

Monroe Wheeler (1899 – 1988) was an American publisher and museum coordinator. He would spend the rest of his life with Glenway Wescott and die one year after Wescott’s passing, requesting that his ashes be buried with his lifelong partner.

Glenway Wescott (1901 – 1987) was an American poet, novelist and essayist. He mixed with many American expatriates in Europe and was the model for the character Robert Prentiss in Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises

George Platt Lynes (1907 – 1955) was an American photographer who worked in the 1930s and 1940s, producing many photographs that featured gay artists and writers. These were acquired by the Kinsey Institute after his death in 1955.

I dedicate this weekly post, featuring vintage gay photographs, to the men and women who lived in a more critical time where being true to yourself and loving who you want wasn’t always an option and came at a great price. Do you have a photo you would like to share? Email me at bosguymail@gmail.com.

Previous Vintage Gay Photos

This week on Instagram: bearscubsandbeards1

The name of this Instagram account more or less says it all. But just in case you need more details, their account description says this is an account for bears, cubs, bearded men, and natural men to celebrate the diversity of beauty.

For those of you who identify with or appreciate men from these gay tribes,  it is an account you may enjoy following or possibly submitting a photo or of yourself.

You can follow this week’s featured account on Instagram here, and you can check out previously featured IG accounts here.

Caption this photo

This week I’m featuring a short clip that was posted on the rugby sport xxx Twitter account last December. Normally I only post funny or compromising photos that are caption-worthy but this clip is making me rethink that and maybe in the future I’ll post more gifs and video clips.

Hopefully the caption I’ve shared below inspires you to offer up one or two of your own. Leave a funny caption as a comment for this post, and I’ll approve it for readers to enjoy.

“How do I steer this thing?”

Brief But Spectacular take on making conversation

Fred Dust’s Brief But Spectacular take on making conversation

I’m a big fan of PBS NewsHour. The news program doesn’t use a slate of “experts” who postulate endlessly back and forth nor does it conflate opinion with news. The broadcast which airs Monday – Friday at 6PM ET also covers a wide range of news (including events happening outside the United States – imagine that).

However, what I like the most about PBS NewsHour are their series and special reports like last week’s “Brief But Spectacular take on making conversation”. Listen to Fred Dust’s 3-minute video if you have a moment.

Temptation Tuesday

Past Temptation Tuesday Posts

Men in kilts

two shirtless men in kilts
Two is company, three is a crowd.

Previous Men in Kilts Posts

Monday morning mancandy

May this post help distract you from the fact that it is a Monday morning.