This month’s challenge was much different than most of the other challenges. Not only is it savory, it’s an entree. It is “real” Italian lasagne… not the ricotta laden version that most of us are used to. 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 recipe is VERY long… you can find it on one of their blogs. Check out the other Daring Baker’s Lasagne here, and all of my past Daring Baker posts here.
This was my first time making pasta at home. I’ve made it when I was in culinary school, but that was 10 years ago. I had to use three and a half eggs instead of the two called for in the recipe. Must have been because I had large eggs, not the jumbo size in the recipe. I definitely realized how much it helps to have a pasta roller. Seriously… I have sore arms as I type this. I couldn’t get the dough as thin as I would have liked, but it turned out good enough. I let it dry overnight over dish cloth covered chairs. The sheets of pasta were quite brittle the following day when I was ready to cook it. Some broke into pieces as I removed them from the chairs. However, it wasn’t a big deal because when you layer the pasta sheets in the pan, it doesn’t really matter if the sheets were perfect.
I felt there was not enough bechamel sauce for the recipe. I had to make another 1/2 recipe to have a nice thin coating on each of the 4 layers of pasta. Especially since the top was coated with the bechamel. I altered the ragu recipe a bit. I really wasn’t digging the pure meat sauce, so instead of adding three roma tomatoes, added an entire 28 oz can of roma tomatoes with the sauce. I was very happy with the outcome. I was also very happy that the butcher at Publix made special amounts of the veal and skirt steak… because you just can’t find 8 oz of steak in the meat department. I did have the perfect amount of ragu sauce.. with just one bite left (that I ate, of course!)
Other than that, I followed the recipes exactly. I was very happy with the outcome. The flavors were distinct and the lack of cheese really brought out the ragu flavor. I now want to invest in a pasta roller so I can make more homemade pasta.