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Monday, October 31, 2011

Lasagne


Hubby and I both love lasagne, but for ages my lasagne had always come out either too mushy, or the pasta sheets too rubbery or undercooked ( I used dried lasagne sheets). Finally I tried   it using fresh pasta , using my new pasta maker and after a few tries it turned out almost perfect.
 I know making fresh pasta can be a bit of a time consumer but I found  that you can make in bulk , roll it by hand or by pasta maker, cut into lasagne sheets , dry them and then freeze.   If you still think its a waste of time use dried pasta sheets, make sure you cover the top sheet well with sauce , cover tightly with aluminium foil and then bake for  about 45 minutes, then remove the foil , cook the top for  about a further 10 minutes or so its nice and golden and bubbling on top

Recipe : Lasagne

Fresh pasta , recipe adapted from Chef Micheal Smith's homemade pasta recipe
                     :
                    3 large eggs, lightly beaten
                    2 cups flour ( I used regular flour)
                    A little splash of olive oil

1. Unlike the italian or chefy way of doing this , I sifted the flour into a large tray, pile it up  and then make a well in the centre. Pour the eggs into the centre along with the olive oil and carefully, trying to be as less messy as I can , started to knead.  Knead till  you get a nice dough ball, if too sticky add a little flour, leave to rest wrapped in cling film  for about an hour.

Dust your work surface and roll it out till nice and thin.  easier if you cut it into quarters and rolling each one. Check out here, how to roll out without a pasta maker,( excuse the funky music :D )  Same goes for using a pasta maker , check it out here on how its done by jamie oliver.   Once you have rolled it out  , dust with a little flour  and then leave to dry on a towel or hang it to dry as shown here

Meat sauce : 300g ground beef
                    1 medium onion
                    2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or grated
                     400g can  chopped tomatoes
                     2 tsp tomato paste
                     a generous helping of ground black pepper
                     1/2 tsp dried mixed herbs
                    salt
                    finely  chopped  fresh parsley (optional)
                   olive oil
 1. Heat a deep frying pan or a wok, add olive oil. Once its hot add the onions and saute' till translucent. Stir in ground beef ( if you are using those frozen ground beef, pan fry then pop into a food processor and pulse a couple of times to break it up as they tend to clump up when cooking). 

2. Once  the meat is brown  , add the garlic . Break the tomatoes if you have a can of whole tomatoes, then stir it in , along with pepper, herbs , (i like to add a little dried chilli flakes or a dash of tabasco), tomato paste.  Pour water half way up the tomato can and slosh it around and then pour the contents intthe pan. Bring to a boil and then simmer till the sauce is nice and very thick.Taste and season with salt, adjust seasonings. Finally stir in fresh parsely if using. Simmer for 1 minute, then switch off , cool till you get the white sauce ready.

Bechamel Sauce/ White sauce : 2 tbsp butter
                                                2 tbsp flour
                                                about 2 cups milk
                                                a big handful  grated chedder cheese and parmesan cheese
                                                 pepper

Heat butter over a low heat, once it melts, stir in flour once its well mixed, pour milk while stirring all the time so the flour and butter mixture gets well mixed with milk. Bring to a simmer and stir continously till its nice and thick. Stir in cheeses ( you can use both or just what you can get your hands on), pepper. Taste and add salt if necessary. Make sure the sauce is nice and thick and doesnt taste floury.

To assmeble the Lasagne :
Fresh pasta
Meat sauce
White sauce
Parmesan cheese grated

1.Choose a oven dish or a baking tray  , this would go well for a family of 2 or 3.  freeze any left over pasta. Preheat oven to  about 200 degree celcius.

2. Spoon meat sauce at the bottom, then add a layer of pasta sheet, Make sure the sheets are quite dry or they became too soggy.

3. Add a layer of  white sauce and parmesan cheese. Then a layer of pasta, meat sauce, another pasta , white sauce , and continue like this till you get to the top layer , finishing with white sauce and a generous helping of cheese ( if you dont have parmesan or is expensive try with chedder cheese)

4. Pop in oven , bake for about 45 minutes till nice  and bubbly and golden on top. Serve alone or with a nice green salad.

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