Sunday, February 7, 2010

Homemade Lasagna

Like I mentioned in the last two posts, last week I made multiple Italian dishes. This lasagna was inspired by my new pasta rollers, which I'm always looking for excuses to use. Lasagna is the easiest way to use homemade pasta, because you only have to roll the dough into sheets. You can trim the sheets to fit the pan, and that's basically all the work you have to do with them. Fresh pasta doesn't need to be boiled before baking the lasagna, which makes things a bit easier.

This is the type of dish that I make a little differently each time, depending on my mood and what ingredients I have on hand. We wanted this version to be vegetarian, but I prefer using a red sauce instead of a creamy white sauce like most vegetarian lasagnas. I used a sauteed mix of mushrooms, asparagus, and spinach for the veggie layer. I added fresh thyme to the ricotta to boost the flavor, since I had extra in the fridge and hate wasting fresh herbs. For the sauce I used Spicy Tomato Basil sauce from earlier in the week. I knew I would be making this lasagna, so I planned ahead and doubled the sauce when I originally made it.

My layering always starts with sauce on the bottom, to avoid having the noodles really get stuck on the pan. Then I go noodles -> ricotta -> veggies -> sauce -> cheese -> repeat. I like to end with noodles, sauce & cheese on top. That's pretty much the extent of the recipe I'm going to give you, though, because I think lasagna is a perfect dish to play around with and make your own.

The finished product

Lasagna is not a dish for people who avoid cheese. The more the better!

Fresh Pasta Recipe
2 cups of flour
3 eggs
1/4 cup semolina
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt

Process the ingredients in a food processor. Dump onto the counter, and knead until the dough is elastic and pretty smooth. Wrap in plastic, and let rest for at least 30 minutes before using the pasta rollers.

Ricotta Layer
1 (15 oz) container ricotta
1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Veggie Layer
1 package baby bella mushrooms
1 lb fresh spinach leaves
1 bunch asparagus
2 cloves garlic
salt and pepper

Tomato Sauce
Spicy Tomato Basil Sauce

Cheese Layer
1 package shredded mozzarella cheese (fresher would be better, but I'm kind of lazy!)
freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Leftover bow-tie pasta!

My pasta recipe made 4 layers worth of noodles, but I only needed 3 layers. I made the last of the pasta dough into bow-ties, which I froze for future use. Bow-ties are really easy to make. Just cut squares, and pinch the middle of opposite sides together. Freeze them in a single layer, then move to a plastic bag.


elly said...

Looks delicious! I keep saying I am going to make homemade pasta and then I never do. Your lasagna looks great and your farfalle is so cute1

Proud Italian Cook said...

I just love those boe ties Erin, and your lasagna looks delicious! Homemade pasta is the best isn't it?

Sarah said...

As often as I've made my own pasta, I've never considered making lasagna noodles or bow ties! Now I can't wait to try!

Laura in Paris said...

Bravo ... home made pasta is fabulous. - but I must confess I have not done any in a long long time!

TKW said...

How did I miss this? WOW! I am so impressed! I really don't think I could do this, but I'll come over and eat yours!