- Pasta machine
- Large and small bowl
- 1 gallon ziploc bag
- Rolling pin
- Sharp knife
- Cutting board/rolling surface
- Lots of kitchen towels or a couple of beach towels, and space to lay out noodles to dry
- Large pot
- Large sieve or slotted spoon
- 2 and 1/4 cups (360 g) semolina flour
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 3 eggs
- 3 tbsp water
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- Beat oil, water, and eggs together in small bowl
- Mix salt and flour in large bowl
- Add wet ingredients to dry
- Mix to make stiff dough
- Knead for 10 minutes or until dough is elastic
- Put dough in ziploc bag and let rest for 20 minutes
- Chop off small amount of dough--about the size of your thumb. Put the rest back in the bag and reseal to keep it from drying out.
- Roll dough into a vague rectangle
- Crank dough through pasta machine until flat and thin
- My pasta machine has 7 settings, where 7 is the widest and 1 is the thinnest. I start at 7 and at each setting, crank the dough through 3 times, flipping it over in various directions each time, and then lower the setting. When I hit setting 4, the dough is usually very long, and I cut it into 2-3 lengths before moving on to setting 3. My machine is also a frustrating piece of crap, so if I don't hold the dough just-so at setting 3 and 2, it will slide off to one side and crinkle and that can lead to tearing. I roll it down to setting 2 and then the noodles are paper thing, delicate, and easy to break ... but that's how I get so many layers
- The dough dries fast once it's been rolled out. This makes it hard to roll, so try to get it down to the right thickness quickly. If you do have to do something else in between (and rolling out noodles takes an hour or more) do it between noodle batches.
- Try not to fold the noodle over on to itself when rolling it out--it just makes it tough and hard to work with.
- Once noodle is to correct thickness, lay out on towel to dry
- Noodles can dry overnight once rolled out, or can be cooked immediately.
- Fill pot with water. Add salt (kosher salt is awesome for this)
- Bring pot to boil
- Put cold water in a large bowl
- Add a few noodles to large pot.
- Let noodles boil for about a minute
- Remove with sieve or large spoon. I find a very large sieve with a long handle works best, as it will scoop up noodles like a net without dropping them
- Dump hot noodles into cold water. This is almost immediately make them cool enough to handle
- Pull cooked noodles from cold water, unfold and lay out onto towels to dry
- Repeat with next set of noodles.
- If cold water bowl gets too warm, replace the water
I make a bechamel instead of using ricotta cheese. This is because my grandmother did it... except I found out that she initially made it like that because I didn't like ricotta as a kid. And then she discovered it made a much lighter lasagna that way, so it stuck. Good on me for being a picky brat, I suppose.
Anyway, the bechamel I make is straight out of Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." It's the fastest way I know to make the cream sauce. Stir, stir, stir...
- Small saucepan or large microwave save bowl
- Large saucepan
- Wooden spoon or spatula
- Wire whisk
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 6 Tbsp flour
- 4 cups milk
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Salt, white pepper, and nutmeg
- Put 4 cups milk and 1/2 tsp salt into small saucepan. Put on back burner to boil. Timing on this is a bit tricky so try to keep it from boiling too fast. Or you can put it in a microwave safe bowl and heat it in the microwave, but it needs to boil.
- While milk is heating up, melt 4 tbsp butter over low heat in large saucepan
- Blend in flour to butter until smooth
- Stir butter/flour mix until it bubbles and froths for 2 minutes to make a roux. Milk should be boiling about now.
- Remove roux from heat.
- As soon as roux stops bubbling, add milk all at once
- Immediately beat mixture with wire whisk to blend, gathering all bits of roux from pan
- Put pan back on medium-high heat and stir until sauce comes to a boil
- Boil for 1 minute, stirring
- Remove from heat. Add salt, white pepper, and nutmeg to taste
The lasagna should be assembled soon after the bechamel is made so it doesn't get a skin on top, etc.
- Lasagna pan
- Aluminum foil
- Cooking spray oil
- Organized workspace
- Aurora's tomato sauce
- 1 lb grated mozzarella cheese
- Grated Parmesan cheese (not sure how much, probably less than a cup)
- Sliced, cooked sausage (optional). If you use sausage, slice it thin and put it in the sauce layers that are not the bottom layer
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Put a couple of spoonfuls of tomato sauce in bottom of lasagna pan to lightly coat bottom of pan
- Lay out noodles to form one layer on top of tomato sauce. Noodles can overlap slightly, but don't have to. If a noodle is too long for the pan, let it drop over the side and it can fold back to form part of the next layer.
- Scoop some bechamel on top of the noodles and smooth out
- Lay out noodles to form another layer on top of the bechamel
- Sprinkle a handful of mozzarella on top of the noodles and spread out, then add a teaspoon or two of Parmesan on top of the mozzarella
- Lay out noodles to form another layer on top of the cheese
- Spoon out some sauce to coat the noodles
- Repeat order of sauce/noodle/bechamel/noodle/cheese/noodle until you run out of one set. Try to arrange it so that either the cheese is on top, or a mix of cheese and bechamel.
- You don't have to do sauce->bechamel->cheese->sauce loop, you can switch it around, but try to layer them evenly to use things up at the same pace
- Spray one side aluminum foil with oil
- Cover pan with aluminum foil, oil side down. This keeps it from sticking
- Cook for 1 hour in oven
- Remove foil. Cook for another 10 minutes
- Remove from oven. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes to cool before serving.