Thursday, August 20, 2009
Homemade Lasagna Noodles
I always rather disliked lasagna, due to the heaviness of the pasta. I think I've solved that problem with these tissue paper thin sheets of semolina goodness. Yes, it takes some skill, and yes, I did give it a final pass through the pasta maker, but it really can be done with a heavy rolling pin and some patience. I adapted my regular noodle recipe by adding more semolina (about 3/4 cup more) and letting it rest for an hour before rolling. I found that it handles well, and the results were really just amazing. With the light tomato sauce I made in the previous post, and a mixture of cheeses, this might just be the best thing I've ever made, and I say that as someone that isn't particularly fond of tomatoes or pasta. The boys went crazy for it as well. When was the last time you had a lasagna you could cut with a fork, yet held enough shape to cut neatly? I'm just so pleased with this, I hope if you give it a try, you will be too.
For the Pasta:
3 egg yolks plus 1 whole egg
3 tablespoons cold water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups semolina flour
1-2 cups AP flour plus a few cups more on hand for rolling and dusting (Keep more than you'll need available)
Beat the eggs until light. Beat in cold water and salt. Beat in semolina and as much AP flour as needed to form a stiff dough. Knead by hand until smooth-about ten minutes. Cover in plastic and let rest 1 hour.
Dust a baking sheet generously with flour as well as your work surface. Divide dough into eight pieces. Pat out a piece generously flouring both sides and roll until thin enough to put through pasta maker. You want very thin sheets, so it may take a couple passes on smaller sized settings. Cut long sheet in half. Transfer to baking sheet, dust with flour and continue until all are done. Transfer to a cooling rack to dry out a bit before cooking. Meanwhile, boil a pot of water.
Cook sheets no more than four at a time, and cook no longer than two minutes. Remove with two large slotted spoons and transfer to a baking sheet. Try to straighten them out if possible (don't scald your fingertips trying). Repeat until all are done. Let cool while you assemble the rest.
For the lasagna filling:
About 6 cups of tomato sauce
4 cups shredded cheese (I used provolone and Pepato)
1 small container whole milk ricotta
1 large egg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Use a 9x13 inch pan.
Layer the bottom of pan generously with sauce. Combine the ricotta and egg and beat until light. Atop the sauce, use a single layer of pasta, cutting edges with a sharp knife so it is neat. Add a thin layer of ricotta/egg mixture. Add another layer of pasta and cover with sauce. Top with cheese. Add another layer of pasta and top with remaining ricotta mixture. Another pasta layer, then sauce, grated cheese and another layer of pasta. Continue until you've used all the sauce and cheese-you will probably have extra pasta-save it for something else. Make sure that your top layer is sauce and a generous covering of cheese.
Place pan atop a baking sheet-just in case of spills.
Bake uncovered (the pasta is thin enough to do this) for 1 hour, or until beautifully browned (and it will be beautiful). Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before cutting and serving.