Saturday, June 27, 2009

Mushroom Lasagna with Fresh Pasta. Nummy.

It was such a beautiful day--not the sort of day one would imagine making a wintry lasagna, but it was what sounded good, and I had all the fixings for it. So I decided what the hey, today's a good day to make some pasta.

This recipe came with the kitchenaid pasta-roller attachment. It's simple, and extremely tender; WAY better than boxed, dried whole-wheat pasta; by far.

You start with the flat beater, and mix the ingredients for 30 seconds. Then switch it out for the dough-hook and use that for 2 minutes. Both of them should be set at speed 2. Then you take out the dough, and put on a floured surface and knead for another two minutes. Then it's ready to go.

It's easier to manage that way. I used half for today's lasagna. I put the rest in a plastic bag or two to keep them moist while I worked with each segment.

You start with the 1 setting on the pasta roller. At first it comes out very coarse, but th emore you work the pasta, the smoother it gets. I like my lasagna noodles to look 'rustic' so I don't mind rough edges, but if you want smooth edges, just fold the raggedy edges in as you work the dough through the various settings. I roll my lasagna noodles to the 5 setting--which is a good thickness for this particular noodle.

I have a little drying tree to hang my finished noodles on while I finish up. I let them hang there a bit to dry, but since there's eggs in the recipe, you should package and freeze the pasta if you're not going to cook it right away. I like those cottagey, rough-edges. :)

I'm going to do some ravioli with the rest of the segments. I haven't decided on fillings yet. But I don't have the plates, so I'll do them a-la-rustique, with a traditional ravioli wheel. That's another post for another day. Right now, onto the lasagna! I start by preparing and chilling the ricotta mixture. I used low-fat ricotta, and added an egg, some grated parmesan, some salt, ground pepper (too coursely ground in this case, I had a few bites of mostly whole peppercorns... whoowee), some sea salt... and a little bit of basil and I added Tarragon because me likes it.

I then popped this concoction into the fridge while I started the cooking business. I love a good spaghetti/lasagna sauce. Especially with mushrooms. The more shrooms the better I say.

That is A LOT of mushrooms. At least a pound. I diced the onion, and used four good cloves of garlic (to keep mosquitoes at bay); and hucked them into a metal bowl.

Some folks like to add italian sausage to their sauce for that unique flavour, but since I cannot stand fennel or anything licorice-like, I always use ground beef. You can do whatever you please. My mother takes sausage meat out of the casings, but I know the meat counter where I shop sells sausage meat sans casings. Whatever floats your boat.

I usually heat up the pan, dollop in some olive oil, and then put in a good measure of oregano, basil, and whatever other spices that suit my fancy, and let the aromas bloom a bit in the heated oil before I add the meat. I then fry it up, it's so lean there's no fat except olive oil. I add salt and pepper and a few other ingredients, like sometimes I'll add a dash of balsamic vinegar.

Then into the pot goes the 'triumvirate of tastiness', you may need to add a bit more olive oil. Mushrooms are thirsty. Once those are all nice and sweated down... time to add the tomatoes.

I get flack from some folks because I use canned tomatoes. So what? I used one large can of crushed tomatoes and one smaller can of pureed tomatoes. Some folks add tomato paste, I prefer to avoid all-night heartburn. It turns out lovely and thick anyway, because of the pasta. No need for paste. It's time to boil my pasta. This stuff cooks fast. About a minute. No kidding. I don't want to overcook because it's going to cook more in the layers.

So your first layer goes down. Easy enough. I love the colour of this pasta. It's so rustic. Adore!

I spoon on a thickish layer of the meat sauce and spread it out over the first layer of pasta. I then cover with another pasta layer.

Then out of the fridge comes the ricotta blend. I use a rubber spatula to spread it around on the pasta. I cover that in pasta again.

Then goes on another thickish layer of sauce. Don't use all your sauce, leave a bit for the final layer. On top of this sauce, I put a 70% of the bag of the 'italian four-cheese blend' over the sauce, and you guessed it... more pasta to cover.

Then apply a thin layer of the remaining sauce over that, and the 30% of your cheese blend. I also sliced up some fresh mozzarella, and laid it over the top. I baked at 350º for a bit, and then broiled the top to get that golden brown yumminess. We popped some garlic bread in while it was broiling.

And there you go. Oh, it was good if I say so myself.

We decided to dine outdoors at our tiny picnic table.

Some mood lighting. Bon appétit. ;)

1 comment:

Lauren said...

Lovely! I so wish I could eat dairy :-)


Related Posts with Thumbnails