My friend, Lisa, suggested I join the cooking group, Daring Bakers. I was kind of excited to bake on demand. However, my first month with the group wasn’t a baking project at all, it was “food”. Although I was just a little disappointed, I felt I had committed to the challenge and I had to follow through. I have never made pasta so this was a difficult challenge for me.
•makes enough for 6-8 first course servings
2 jumbo eggs
10 oz. fresh spinach, washed, rinsed dry and finely chopped
3 1/2 C. all purpose unbleached flour
Mixing the dough
Mound flour in the center of your work surface and make a well in the middle. Add the eggs and spinach. Use a wooden spoon to eat together. Gradually start incorporating shallow scrapings of the flour from the sides of the well into the liquid. The well sides will collapse as you work. Use a pastry scraper to keep the liquids from running off. It will look lumpy.
Using the scraper, scoop up all the pieces and knead. Once formed into a ball use the scraper to remove any bits from the work surface. Knead for 3 minutes. It should be elastic and sticky. If too sticky, use more flour. Continue to knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Wrap in plastic wrap and let relax at room temp for 30 minutes. to 3 hours.
Stretching and Thinning:
With a regular length rolling pin, roll out a quarter of the dough at a time, keep unused dough wrapped. Flour work surface. Stretch dough rather than press down and push it. Shape into a ball and roll out to form a circle, frequently turning the disc. As it thins out, start rolling the disc back on the pin a quarter of the way toward the center and stretching it gently sideways by running the palms of your hands over the rolled up dough from the center. Unroll, turn the disc and quarter turn and repeat. Do twice more.
I used the pasta attachment to my Kitchen Aid Mixer. However, if you don’t have that, I found a really good video on Martha Stewart. com.
For the Bolognese Sauce and the Bechamel Sauce I used a traditional lasagna recipe that I have been making for the past 20 years. It is from Cook’s Magazine, March/April 1988 issue. I love this recipe and so does everyone else that eats it. It is so light and so yummy.
1 onion, chopped
1/2 carrot, chopped
1/2 celery rib, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 T. butter, unsalted
1/2 lb. ground pork (however I use turkey)
1/3 C. dry white wine
1/3 C. heavy cream
1/8 t. grated nutmeg
2 C chopped tomatoes
1. Melt butter and saute meat until cooked through
2. Add onion, carrot and celery and cook until tender, approx 5 mins.
3. Add garlic and saute for 1 min.
4. Add wine, deglaze bottom of pan and simmer until reduced by half.
5. Add heavy cream and nutmeg and simmer until thickened, about 5 mins.
6. Stir in tomatoes and juice
7. Cover and simmer for 2 hours. Season with salt and pepper to taste
3 T. unsalted butter
1/4 C. flour
2 C. whole milk
1. Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat.
2. Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute.
3. Gradually whisk in milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
4. Reduce heat and season with salt and pepper.
5. Simmer for 20 mins until thickened
Grate 3 ounces of Parmesan cheese
Put a layer of sauce on the bottom of a 10″ x 13″ pan. Place a layer of pasta, then a layer of Bolognese, then a layer of Bechamel, then sprinkle Parmesan cheese over that. Repeat 2 more times.
Heat oven to 400*F. Loosely cover with foil and bake until warmed through, about 25 minutes. Remove foil and put lasagna under broiler until golden brown, about 5 minutes (watch it or it will burn). Let 10 minutes before serving.
Note: I usually double both sauces. I like to make an extra one and freeze it for another dinner. Enjoy!
The March 2009 challenge is hosted by Mary of Beans and Caviar, Melinda of Melbourne Larder and Enza of Io Da Grande. They have chosen Lasagna of Emilia-Romagna from The Splendid Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper as the challenge.