Sunday, January 30, 2011

Day 20A: Spinach, Cheese and Tomato Lasagna

I rarely make lasagna -- so many steps, and I'm a bit of a lazy cook.  Tonight's lasagna recipe comes from The Greens Cook Book, and the directions are numerous but not difficult.  To add to the experience I also made my very first pasta dough today, and invited some friends over for dinner.  I was very happy I didn't stress out at all.  The dough came out beautifully, and I made sure to give myself plenty of time to complete all the steps.  Since the directions are quite long I've divided the recipe into two posts.  The first post will cover making the dough, and the second will be how to make the lasagna.

There is a chapter before the recipes that gives you in-depth pasta making information, and I'm glad I took the time to read it.  They stressed how important it was not to add too much water, and that was probably the most difficult thing about the task -- incorporating the water a little bit at a time. ( I'm estimating I used about 1/4 cup of water.  Next time I'll keep better track of how much water I used.)  It was well worth the effort.

Egg Pasta
The Greens Cook Book
Yield:  7 ounces pasta dough 

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
Good pinch salt
1 large egg
1 tsp olive oil
A few drops water, if necessary

Combine the flour and the salt in a bowl, make a well in the middle, and add the egg and the olive oil.  Using your fingers, lightly and gradually work the egg into the flour so that it is completely distributed throughout.  When it is well combined, press the mixture together to form a dough.  Turn it out onto a counter and begin to work it together.  If it is too dry, add drops of water, a few at a time, to moisten the dough and help it come together.  Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, until it feels smooth and supple.  Put it in a  plastic bag or wrap it in plastic, and set it aside to rest at least a half hour, preferable an hour, before rolling it out. 

   I used a food processor instead of mixing the egg and flour by hand. 

Process for about 10 seconds.  I should have added a little water at this stage to help the dough come together quicker.

Instead I just dumped the flour onto a board, and started squishing and adding water.

And squishing, and adding water until it finally formed a ball of dough.

Then I kneaded it by hand for about 10 minutes until the dough was smooth and shiny, wrapped it in cling wrap, and sat it on the counter for about an hour.  

Then I flattened the ball of dough into a disc shape, and cut the disc in half, and started rolling.

After the first pass I cut the strip in half lengthwise to make it easier to handle when feeding through the roller  After each pass through the roller I moved the knob down one number until I reached the next to the last setting.  Paul and I actually had a great system going.  One of us would just crank the roller while the other would feed the dough, and catch/remove the pasta from the other side.  

I laid the dough on a baking sheet between sheets of waxed paper until I was ready to cook, about 10 minutes.  If it'll be longer than 10/15 minutes then the pasta should be covered with cling wrap, and placed in the refrigerator until you're ready to cook them.  I'll list those directions on the next post.  


  1. I had fun helping press and roll out the pasta - the fun part of making your own. The dough making part looked a bit tedious, but Ann's patience with adding the water paid off - the dough was a perfect consistency and went through the pasta press with ease. If I didn't know better, I would have thought I was playing with one of those play-dough presses that you buy at Toys-R-Us for your 5yr old kid - only I'm a bit older than that I guess - like only 11 times older? I think I'll stop right there...

  2. That is really ambitious.. making your own pasta. Back in India in m 90s when pasta was not readiy available, I made pasta myself and boy was it time consuming. I had to roll out the pasta sheets by hand... no pasta machine.