Saturday, March 28, 2009
Daring Bakers Challenge- Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna
I am a day late and a dollar short! The post date for this months challenge changed and I didn't realize it until 2 hours ago. So, my lasagne's is still cooking. I will update my pictures as it finishes cooking.
The March 2009 challenge is hosted by Mary of Beans and Caviar, Melinda of Melbourne Larder and Enza of Io Da Grande. They have chosen Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna from The Splendid Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper as the challenge.
The main part of this challenge was to hand roll your own pasta. I was really excited about this challenge. This is the way I usually make my lasagne. I don't usually roll my own pasta, but I do make it with a Bolognese meat sauce and bechamel sauce. I don't use the typical ricotta cheese mixture in my lasagne. I decided to use the recipe I like best, which is an adaption of Nick Stellino's recipe from his book Mediterranean Flavors. We were able to use what our favorite sauce was and this is by far my favorite.
I had never made my own pasta before. It really was quite a challenge. The color was bright and pretty. I did have one mishap, I got a little careless and ended up cutting my finger and nail. Ouch! Thank goodness it wasn't too deep, but it sure does hurt. I just put on a bandage and luckily I had some gloves and I was good to go. Overall a little stressful, but a satisfying challenge.
You can click the link here to get the Daring Bakers recipe for this month. I have listed below the Bolognese Meat sauce and Bechamel sauce I used for this recipe. Here is how I layered it all;
I oiled a casserole dish and put a layer of the spinach noodles down slightly overlapping. Place 1 cup of bolognese meat sauce over noodles followed by 1/2 cup bechamel sauce and 1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano. Repeat for 2 more layers. The top layer is simply the remaining noodles covered with the remaining bechamel sauce and parmigiano reggiano. I cooked the lasagne in a 350 degree F oven for 1 hour. Let sit for 10 minutes before cooking.
Bolognese Meat Sauce (adapted from Nick Stellino's Mediterranean Flavors)
5 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
4 garlic cloves, thickly sliced
1 large bay leaf
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
4 ounces finely diced prosciutto
1/2 pound ground lamb
1/2 pound ground beef
1/3 cup red wine
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups beef broth
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan set on high heat until sizzling, about 2 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes, celery, carrots, onion, garlic, bay leaf, sage and basil and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook 10 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Raise the heat to high, add the prosciutto, lamb and beef and cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Add the wine, reduce the heat to medium and let it cook until almost evaporated, about 5 minutes. Raise the heat to high, add the tomato sauce, tomato paste and broth and bring to boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
I usually add to my sauce the rind from parmigiano reggiano cheese that I save. I add it and let if flavor the sauce.
Bechamel Sauce (from Nick Stellino)
3 cups milk
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
In a large saucepan set on medium heat, warm the milk until steaming. In another large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk the flour into the melted butter to form a thick paste or roux. Continue cooking for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Do not let the flour brown. Remove the pan from the heat.
Add the nutmeg to the hot milk, then pour a little at a time, into the warm roux, whisking vigorously to prevent lumps. When all the milk has been added, return the pan to medium heat and continue whisking until the sauce thickens, about 3-5 minutes. If the sauce is too thin, cook a little longer. Remove from the heat, cover and set aside until ready to use.