Thursday, February 24, 2011

Guest Post: Homemade Pasta - Lasagne


A little while ago, my lovely friend Ash swooped in and saved me from another night of mother-in-law fare and arguing over which tiler to go with, and offered to cook me dinner. At her place. WIN. Now, if you knew my friend, you'd know that she has a lot of talents she keeps very well hidden. Such as this amazing cooking talent she claims she's too 'lazy' to use most of the time.. Now, Ash, you f**ked up. Cos now I know how much you rock in the kitchen. I suspected it, but this sealed it!

The tender, perfectly cooked pasta sheets, the tasty, savoury mince and the delicious cheese perfectly crispy on top.. This was one of the most delicious lasagnes I've had in a long time, and one that I'm definitely going to be whipping up at home (as soon as my kitchen is finished!)

And now, over to you, Ash! 

Wednesday night I had your favourite blogger, Polkadotcupcake, over for dinner at my house. In keeping with my new years resolution to be healthy and fill my life with GOOD things, I decided to make my favourite comfort food from scratch: lasagne.
 


Not only is it cheaper to make pasta from scratch, its tastier and healthier. And so easy to make. Total cooking time was about an hour, and this was to feed ten people.. Not that she and I eat for five people each... I have a lot of housemates. Total cost of the meal was about R90. Number of pots and bowls used: four. Could it be any easier?
 


Start off by making the pasta (recipe below), and then while it dries, you can start on the mince and white sauce.
 


Mix the dry ingredients together, then make a well in the middle. Beat the eggs and olive oil together in a separate bowl, and add the wet ingredients to the dry flour mix. Stir until it combines and becomes a soft dough. Sprinkle a flat surface with flour and knead the dough for about 7 minutes. Divide the dough into 5 pieces. 


Now, pull out that pasta machine that’s been sitting in your cupboard gathering dust. If you don’t have one, never fear, you can do this by hand quite easily.

Flatten a dough ball in the palm of your hand and feed it through the pasta machine at the widest setting. Carry on doing this, closing down a setting each time. My pasta machine has ten settings. By the time you get to the smallest, narrowest setting, run the pasta through twice. Now either place it on a damp dishtowel (otherwise its going to stick to your table), or hang it over a clean chair. Repeat with the rest of the dough balls.

If you don’t have a pasta machine, you’re going to have a fun time with your rolling pin. Sprinkle flour on a flat surface and start rolling until your dough ball is about 1.5mm thick. Repeat with all the dough balls. Place the lasagne on a damp dishtowel or hang it over a chair. 

Now you can start on the mince and white sauce. For the amount of lasagne I made, I used about 700 grams mince, two tins of tomato and onion mix and one onion {Editors note: you can use your favourite bolognaise recipe, or this one}. My secret ingredient is bisto (two tsp). I used about 1.3 litres of milk for the white sauce, and my secret ingredient for that is a cube of chicken stock.

The trick to home made lasagne is making it quite saucy. The liquid soaks into the pasta, softening it and allowing it to cook faster.

Start by pouring a little white sauce in the bottom of a large oven proof dish. Then put a layer of your fresh pasta in the dish. Spoon a layer of mince onto the pasta, and then a generous amount of white sauce. Repeat. I used three pasta-mince-white sauce layers. Put one last layer of pasta on top, and cover generously with the remaining white sauce. Sprinkle cheese on top, and pop in the oven at 160 Celsius for half an hour or until the cheese is golden and bubbling. 

Take it out of the oven and leave it to cool for 5 minutes. Serve with a green mixed salad.


Homemade Pasta 

Ingredients:
500ml (2 cups) flour
3 eggs
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp salt.


Mix the dry ingredients together, then make a well in the middle. Beat the eggs and olive oil together in a separate bowl, and add the wet ingredients to the dry flour mix. Stir until it combines and becomes a soft dough. Sprinkle a flat surface with flour and knead the dough for about 7 minutes. Divide the dough into 5 pieces.


White Sauce
Ingredients
1 tbsp butter or margerine
2 tbsp flour
(Note: no matter how much white sauce you want, you need to use double the amount of flour to butter)
± 1 litre milk

Method:
Melt butter in a pan, until liquid, but not brown or burnt. Then, add the flour, and stir to mix, incorporating all into a paste. While still over a low heat (or off the plate, if it takes too long to cool), add a little of the milk, just enough to create a more liquid paste, and use this opportunity to squash out all the lumps with the back of a spoon. This will help your final sauce to have as few lumps as possible. Once the paste is smooth, add the milk a little at a time, making sure to incorporate it. When about half is added, change to a whisk, and keep whisking until almost all the milk is added. Then, let it cook for about 5 minutes, whisking from time to time, to cook the flour, letting it thicken. If it gets too thick, add some milk, if not, remove from heat when thick, and add a grind of black pepper, or even some grated cheese.

Bookmark and Share

3 comments:

  1. Hmmm, I think I should try this method with the fresh pasta because if I have to deal with stupid lasagna pasta sheets sticking together one more time I will scream. The chicken stock tip sounds like a pretty solid one too, I might add. Who knew Ashleigh was such a great cook?

    ReplyDelete
  2. @Marisa
    I know, who knew, right? Well, I'm keeping her as my kitchen slave, I can tell you! She's made cannelloni since then too!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think it's time to invest in a pasta maker myself... Marisa's right about those stupid box pasta sheets. Nice post lady :)

    ReplyDelete

The only thing I love more than cooking and eating, is hearing from you, my lovely readers! So feel free to comment away, just keep it tidy!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...