November 9, 2012 by Meg G.
It was a big week for the Griffiths family. On Tuesday my dad became Councilman-Elect for our hometown. And last Sunday, my sister Julie gave birth to the beautiful and perfect Scarlet Lucy. We weren’t expecting her for another week or two, but the stubborn little angel decided 11/4 was the big debut! We’re over the moon about her arrival and can’t wait to get to the west coast to meet her!
Julie doesn’t love to cook, but the one recipe that she has shared with me is her homemade lasagne noodles. (Pretty hilarious that the girl doesn’t cook, except when she makes her own pasta!) So, when I realized that this week’s From Scratch Club book club assignment included Alana’s chapter on pasta, I knew that I had to make some lasagne in honor of the newest member of our little Italian family.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 large eggs
- Make a flour volcano on a clean counter; break the eggs into a bowl, pour them into the center of the volcano, and then beat the eggs with a fork, just incorporating the yolk and the whites. Use the fork to gently mix the flour into the egg mixture, working from the center out, maintaining the wall of the volcano as the center hole gets bigger.* When the egg is thoroughly incorporated, push the dough together into a ball and cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap as you clean your hands and work surface.
- Unwrap the dough and knead it on your clean surface. As Alana promises, it WILL come together! Vigorously push the dough down and away from you with one hand, and fold it over with the over for 5 minutes, or until the dough has a smooth surface. This will require some elbow grease. (Consider it your workout for the day. Oh wait, I don’t work out.) Cut the dough into 6 even pieces and shape each in a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and rest for 30 minutes.
*Thankfully, Alana warns you that the eggs may go skating over the top of the volcano and onto your counter. This happened to a ridiculous degree – obviously I need to work on my volcano building skills.
While you’re letting your dough rest, get the remainder of your ingredients prepped and ready to go. We used Alana’s recipe and added some veggie sausage and spinach.
- 2 cups ricotta (1lb)
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground pepper
- 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
- 3.5 – 4 cups tomato sauce (we only used about 2.5 cups)
- 1 lb mozzarella, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds (we used slightly less)
- 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 package veggie sausage
- 4 oz fresh spinach
- Preheat the oven to 375F
- Cook up your sausage in a non-stick or lightly sprayed pan until golden and slightly crispy
- While the sausage is cooking, combine the ricotta, eggs, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and spinach in a bowl and thoroughly combine
- Roll out two of your dough balls, one at a time, with a rolling pin (or fancy pasta roller if you have one) until it is 1/16 of an inch thick
Here come the layers:
- Spoon 1/2 cup tomato sauce into a 9×13 inch baking pan and cover the bottom
- Cover with a layer of noodles – we found that two fit perfectly in the pan and required no cutting; but it’s possible that ours were thicker than 1/16 inch.
- Evenly spread about half of the ricotta mixture over the noodles.
- Add a third of the remaining sauce and half of the sausage
- Layer half of the mozzarella; roll out another two noodles and layer
- Layer the rest of the ricotta mixture, a third of the sauce, and the rest of the sausage
- Layer the rest of the mozzarella, the last two noodles, the rest of the sauce, and the parmesan cheese
Cover with aluminum foil (making sure it doesn’t touch the cheese) and bake for 40 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is golden. Allow to sit for 10 minutes. (This will be hard, but it will prevent you from the always painful roof-of-your-mouth-burn.)
If you want to freeze your lasagne for another time, you can leave it uncooked and tightly cover it or put pre-baked individual portion sizes in freezer-safe containers. Either option can be frozen for up to 4 months. Just thaw it out before you cook or reheat it. Your cooked creation will stay fresh in the fridge (covered with foil or plastic wrap) for 3 days.
We LOVED this recipe. It was a bit time-consuming, and it definitely helped to have an extra set of hands in the kitchen. While I rolled out the noodles, Heather layered everything up. (Hence, no extra hands for lots of photos…sigh)
In the end, it was well worth it. I’ve never been a big fan of store-bought lasagne noodles – I feel like their texture is never right. Our noodles were a little on the chewy side (again, probably could have been thinner, but I don’t have a pasta roller), but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. We opted for store-bought everything else due to time constraints, but you could certainly make everything in this dish from scratch (especially if you’re a kitchen maven with all kinds of homemade pantry staples at the ready).
We served this up with some crusty bread. A salad probably would have been a nice addition, but were just as happy to savor each bite of this lasagne with little distraction. Welcome to the family, Scarlet Lucy!