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05 May 2010 @ 10:52 am
Veggie Lasagna  
Made White Veggie Lasagna last night. Had some leftover ricotta from making ravioli last weekend, and decided that lasagna was the way to use it up. Didn't think to check if we have lasagna noodles, so at 5 last night decided to make my own.

Succeeded in making noodle dough on the counter this time without making a huge eggy mess. However, ended up with a large crater of leftover flour.

Alton Brown's Fresh Pasta:
approx 3 cups of flour - will not all be used, feel free to start with 2 ish, maybe a little more
2 eggs
3 T water
1 t olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

The original instructions are to mound the flour on a work surface, make a hole in the middle and pour the egg, water, oil, & salt mixture into it, then stir with fingers until as much flour as the dough will take has been assimilated. However, it didn't work all that well for me last night, the dough didn't pick up enough flour and was sticky when I was trying to put it through the pasta machine. I will consider using the food processor mixing method next time - flour and salt in the work bowl, pulse a couple of times to mix. Whisk together the eggs, water, and oil. Pulse the machine while pouring the mixture in a continuous stream. Run the machine until the dough begins to pull away from the sides.

Refrigerate for at least an hour to rest. Knead by hand 8-10 minutes if forming pasta by hand. Otherwise, put it through the pasta machine at the widest setting, then fold in thirds like a business letter, rotate 90 degrees and put it back through. Repeat twice, then begin decreasing the setting. I went to setting number 5 on our machine, which was plenty thin enough.

I boiled the noodles in a large pot of salted boiling water one or two at a time. The instructions I read said to place the noodles into a bowl of cold water, then lay on parchment paper. I ended up putting them on a cooling rack to let the water drain a little.

James's White Veggie Lasagna
ricotta (most of a 16 oz container)
1 egg
olive oil
oregano
~3/4 C freshly shredded parmesan
shredded mozzarella - to your heart's content
frozen spinach - 9 oz box
3-4 cloves garlic (I used 1 clove of elephant garlic)
4-5 large carrots
4 oz mushrooms
2 C milk
3 T butter
3 Tflour
salt & pepper

I mixed the ricotta with an egg, a little olive oil, some dried oregano, salt, pepper, and parmesan, then let that sit while I worked on the rest of the filling.

Cleaned and sliced the carrots and mushrooms. I chopped some garlic, and put the carrots an garlic in a baking dish, tossed with some olive oil and a little kosher salt. I roasted that at 350, mixing every 10 minutes. After 20 minutes, I added the mushrooms. Mixed again after 10 minutes, then turned the oven off and left the veggies inside while I was finishing the noodles.

Cooked the frozen spinach, then let it drain through a wire mesh strainer, pressing with a spoon occasionally.

Warmed the milk with a bay leaf in a small sauce pan, then took the puppy outside and jadziadaxwb turned off the burner when the milk bubbled over.

Sliced and melted the butter over medium heat, then added the flour and whisked it around for a minute or so. Turned off the burner for a minute to let it cool. Fished out the bay leaf, then whisked the milk into the butter/flour pan. Turned the burner back on medium and whisked the milk around until it came to boil. Reduced the heat and added about 1/2 C of the shredded parmesan. Tasted it, added a little more parmesan and some salt and pepper. I wanted to add enough salt to bring out the parmesan taste, but not bring too much saltiness.

Combined the spinach with the ricotta mixture.

Smeared the bottom of the pan with a little of the parmesan sauce, which ends up extra thick because of the milk/butter/flour proportions. Added a layer of noodles. I layered half of the ricotta mixture, then half of the carrot & mushrooms, then parmesan sauce and shredded mozzarella. I used regular mozzarella, not fresh, since it shreds easier and the difference in taste is not really apparent, if anything I wanted the slightly saltier taste of regular. Another layer of noodles, used up the rest of the ricotta and veggies, then parmesan sauce, reserving some for the top, and shredded mozzarella. Top layer of noodles, then the last of the parmesan sauce and a liberal layer of shredded mozzarella. Meant to shred some parmesan on top, but forgot. Came out great irregardlessly.

I bake it at 375 for 40 minutes. I loosely covered it with tin foil for the first twenty minutes, but I don't think that was necessary. Maybe the first ten minutes, or maybe not at all. Also, 400 degrees may decrease the oven time.

Future variations: Other veggies can be incorporated into the filling, onions, peppers, zucchini, tomatoes. Broccoli or cauliflower, maybe?
Perhaps roast the veggies at a higher temp - the carrots needed to be precooked to keep from being too crunchy, but I was hoping they would acquire some carmelization in the process. Considering the tasks I was juggling, it was a good idea to stay lower rather than crank up the heat or the broiler.
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ext_209138 on May 7th, 2010 10:50 pm (UTC)
I'm quite intrigued by this lasagna . . . and mildly affronted that you made it barely a week before I'm coming to visit when it's my FAVORITE thing to eat!