There is something so comforting with all the layers of a hearty lasagna, it's even better when everything is made from scratch. Some people may think "Wow that's a lot of work for just that" but honestly you cannot beat the taste, the store bought frozen lasagna just doesn't hold a candle to this!
This is my base pasta sauce that I use for quite a few Italian dishes, the cheese layer is one I have played around with and settled on this one, and the pasta recipe I got from the Spice Chica class I went to with my family for a girls day out.
So First things first The Pasta
6 Large Eggs (I prefer omega three eggs because the yolk is so bright and beautiful)
600 Grams of tpo "00" flour, or all purpose flour is fine
Mound the flour on a work surface; make a well in the centre. Add eggs to well.
Using a fork beat eggs, starting from the inside edge and working around well, gradually incorporate flour into the egg mixture until soft dough forms. Scoop up and sift any flour left on work surface, discarding any bits of dough; set aside.
On a clean lightly floured surface, knead dough for 10 minutes, working in enough of the sifted flour to make dough smooth and elastic. Cover with plastic wrap; let rest for 20 minutes (or in the fridge till needed). When ready to use divide into 3 pieces to make handling easier; cover the pieces you are not using.
Take the ball of dough, remove the plastic and press it into a disk on a lightly floured surface.
Take your rolling pin and begin to roll the dough keeping it lightly floured and turning it.
Continue to roll your dough until it is about 1/8th of an inch thick and almost see through.
Lay the cut strands of dough on a lightly floured baking sheet until you are ready to use.
To Use A Machine To Roll Pasta
You can also use either a hand crank pasta machine, or an attachment to a table mixer as shown above to roll and cut pasta.
Begin on the lowest setting on the dial, run the disk of dough through the rollers. Fold in half, lightly flour and run it though once again.
Continue to run the dough through the rollers, increasing the number (decreasing space between rollers) each time and keeping the dough lightly floured to prevent sticking until you have reached your desired thickness. I usually stop at the second to last number on the dial.
Cook your pasta in a pot of salted boiling water until tender (al dente). Fresh pasta will only take a few minutes to cook so keep a close watch on the pasta while it is cooking.
Now onto the sauce:
1.5 Pounds of Raw Lean Ground Beef
2 Medium Yellow Onions
2 Jars of Whole Canned Tomatoes (I have canned my own so they are 30oz jars)
1 Jar of Tomato Paste
2 Cloves of garlic minced
1/4 Cup Cooking White Wine
1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley
1/2 tsp of each Thyme, Rosemary, Basil, Oregano, Marjoram, and sage
Salt and Pepper to taste
In a large sauce pan pour some olive oil into the pan and heat up on a medium heat, add ground beef, sprinkle some salt and pepper. Cook the beef till it is cooked all the way through and slightly brown, with a sieve drain the beef from all the fat and set aside.
Dice your onions, and mince the garlic, heat up the pot again to a medium heat with a bit of olive oil. Add onions and garlic and cook till slightly tender then add white wine. Cook down till most of the wine has evaporated.
Add your cans of tomatoes with the water, add tomato paste and stir till combined.
Dice up your parsley till fine pieces, add to sauce along with all the spices. Cook for 5 minutes then add the ground beef. Cook for an additional 30 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated quite a bit and it is a thicker consistency. Taste and if it needs more of any of the spices then add them.
Set aside and cool till it is time to assemble the lasagna.
The cheese layer....my favorite!
2 300 Gram Containers of Ricotta Cheese
3 Cups of Fresh Spinach
1 Large Egg
Chop spinach into small pieces.
In a large bowl add ricotta cheese, egg and spinach and mix to it is well combined.
Set aside till you assemble the lasagna.
Now the big step of assembling and cooking, just kidding it's pretty easy to do.
Start with a 9 by 13 casserole pan, make sure the noodles are cut to fit the pan before assembly, the best part of fresh noodles is they don't need to be pre cooked and they don't take long to be done. It is the cheese and sauce you have to wait to be done cooking.
Layer noodles, sauce, noodles, cheese, noodles, sauce, noodles, cheese, noodles and then sauce... haha it is like a tongue twister. Then to top it all off I added a three cheese blend that has Provolone, Parmesan and Pizza Mozzarella on top.
Cover pan with tin foil but do not add it tightly, peak the tin foil in the middle so it will not stick to the cheese. Place in a 350F oven, cook for 30 minutes with tin foil and then an additional 20-30 minutes without, or until bubbly and cheese on top has some brown patches.
Let sit for about 10 minutes to settle then serve and enjoy.
The smell drives me nuts when cooking because it just smells AMAZING! I love how the fresh pasta bubbles up and the cheese browns slightly and gets all gooey as well. Nothing beats it!
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