Thursday, April 22, 2010

Lasagne with Homemade Pasta

Because of the dark days challenge this winter, I started making pasta occasionally because I could use local whole wheat pastry flour. The good news is that it's not hard to make pasta and it's cheap, but the GREAT news is that homemade pasta makes the best, absolutely the best, lasagne ever!

I had never found a lasagne recipe to love:  I didn't want to boil noodles first, but the overnight soaking recipes never got the right texture either.

Well, folks, I have found a dependable, delicious and manageable recipe; it's satisfying in its vegetarian version, although you could add some sausage or proscuitto somewhere if you want. It's going to be my standard entertaining fare.

I followed Martha Stewart's recipe in Martha Stewart's Cooking School. I know, I know, Martha is needlessly complicated, but lasagne is complicated to start with and at least Martha says you don't boil the noodles first.

Have ready:
1 batch pasta dough (I use the recipe from Alice Waters in The Art of Simple Food - it uses 2 cups flour to 2 eggs and 2 yolks).
2 cups ricotta mixed with 1 egg, some salt & pepper & nutmeg
3-4 c. really good marinara sauce, herby and garlicky
1 lb. mozzarella cheese, sliced (fresh is preferred)
1 1/2 c. really good parmesan, grated medium
1 greased 9x13 pan

You can roll the pasta and stack it aside or roll it as you go - just grab a golf-ball sized chunk, roll it until you can almost see your countertop through it, flour it and set it aside.

Spread 1 c. marinara in pan.
Cover with a layer of pasta, overlapping if need be.
Cover with 1/3 of the ricotta.
Sprinkle 1/3 parmesan.

Add another layer of pasta.
1 c. marinara
Layer of pasta
1/3 ricotta
Sprinkle parmesan

Another layer of pasta
Layer of mozzarella

Final layer of pasta
Final 1/3 ricotta
Rest of parmesan
Last 2 cups of marinara.
Torn pieces of mozzarella

Bake at 375 for 45-55 minutes, until bubbly. Allow to rest at least 10 minutes before cutting. Martha says you can assemble this up to 12 hours before baking, so I think I will try it sometime for Sunday dinner.

This past time, I had 3 sheets of pasta left over, so I bagged them and put them in the fridge. Today, my husband cut them and boiled them for lunch; the pasta had not suffered at all from the delay. I love that flexibility!

I realize I haven't actually explained step by step how I make pasta, so if you want, I can do that. I will just reassure you that it's not hard like custards, pie crusts, and steaks which take true skill and experience.


Rebecca said...

Ugh. Steaks. Don't get me started. I need a tutorial. Batch #1 was well-done/crunchy and Batch #2 mooed. Hand me a slab of lasagna, please.

Jennifer Jo said...

Very interesting (and appetizing). I have never made pasta (the thick noodles I turned out one afternoon do not count as pasta), so I would be interested in a step-by-step tutorial. With pictures, pretty please.

Meghan said...

I'd like your marinara sauce recipe too, please.

Unknown said...

It is true that making pasta does not require the skill and experience that a steak can require, but anyways, it might be hard for some people. I learnt how to make it when I was in one of those buenos aires apartments in my trip to Argentina. I turned out to be that they were great cooks in terms of pasta dishes, so now I can consider myself to be an expert!