Saturday, 28 March 2009

My 4th challenge with Daring Bakers, LASAGNA !!

This month challenge was a hit and I did not expect it at all.
Lasagna ??? who doesn't love lasagna ???

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.

I am used to make lasagna pasta at home but I did not try to make the pasta with spinach, Sometimes I add spinach in the filling but not in the pasta.
I also like to roll it using my rolling pin , I have the machine but I prefer to deal with the dough with my bare hands.

Here you are the pasta dough recipe,

1 Spinach Egg Pasta (Pasta Verde)
Preparation: 45 minutes
Makes enough for 6 to 8 first course servings or 4 to 6 main course servings, equivalent to 1 pound (450g) dried boxed pasta.
2 jumbo eggs (2 ounces/60g or more).

10 ounces (300g) fresh spinach, rinsed dry, and finely chopped; or 6 ounces (170g) frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry.
3&1/2 cups (14 ounces/400g) all purpose unbleached (plain) flour (organic stone ground preferred) .
Working by Hand:
Equipment
A roomy work surface, 24 to 30 inches deep by 30 to 36 inches (60cm to 77cm deep by 60cm to 92cm).

Any smooth surface will do, but marble cools dough slightly, making it less flexible than desired.
A pastry scraper and a small wooden spoon for blending the dough.
A wooden dowel-style rolling pin. In Italy, pasta makers use one about 35 inches long and 2 inches thick (89cm long and 5cm thick). The shorter American-style pin with handles at either end can be used, but the longer it is, the easier it is to roll the pasta.Note: although it is not traditional, Enza has successfully made pasta with a marble rolling pin, and this can be substituted for the wooden pin, if you have one.
Plastic wrap to wrap the resting dough and to cover rolled-out pasta waiting to be filled. It protects the pasta from drying out too quickly.
A sharp chef’s knife for cutting pasta sheets.
Cloth-covered chair backs, broom handles, or specially designed pasta racks found in cookware shops for draping the pasta.
Mixing the dough:Mound the flour in the center of your work surface and make a well in the middle. Add the eggs and spinach. Use a wooden spoon to beat together the eggs and spinach. Then gradually start incorporating shallow scrapings of flour from the sides of the well into the liquid. As you work more and more flour into the liquid, the well’s sides may collapse. Use a pastry scraper to keep the liquids from running off and to incorporate the last bits of flour into the dough. Don’t worry if it looks like a hopelessly rough and messy lump.
Kneading:With the aid of the scraper to scoop up unruly pieces, start kneading the dough. Once it becomes a cohesive mass, use the scraper to remove any bits of hard flour on the work surface – these will make the dough lumpy. Knead the dough for about 3 minutes. Its consistency should be elastic and a little sticky. If it is too sticky to move easily, knead in a few more tablespoons of flour. Continue kneading about 10 minutes, or until the dough has become satiny, smooth, and very elastic. It will feel alive under your hands. Do not shortcut this step. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and let it relax at room temperature 30 minutes to 3 hours.
Stretching and Thinning:If using an extra-long rolling pin work with half the dough at a time. With a regular-length rolling pin, roll out a quarter of the dough at a time and keep the rest of the dough wrapped. Lightly sprinkle a large work surface with flour. The idea is to stretch the dough rather than press down and push it. Shape it into a ball and begin rolling out to form a circle, frequently turning the disc of dough a quarter turn. As it thins outs, start rolling the disc back on the pin a quarter of the way toward the center and stretching it gently sideways by running the palms of your hands over the rolled-up dough from the center of the pin outward. Unroll, turn the disc a quarter turn, and repeat. Do twice more.
Stretch and even out the center of the disc by rolling the dough a quarter of the way back on the pin. Then gently push the rolling pin away from you with one hand while holding the sheet in place on the work surface with the other hand. Repeat three more times, turning the dough a quarter turn each time.
Repeat the two processes as the disc becomes larger and thinner. The goal is a sheet of even thickness. For lasagne, the sheet should be so thin that you can clearly see your hand through it and see colours. Cut into rectangles about 4 by 8 inches (10 x 20 cm). Note: Enza says that transparency is a crucial element of lasagne pasta and the dough should be rolled as thinly as possible. She says this is why her housekeeper has such strong arms!
Dry the pasta at room temperature and store in a sealed container or bag.

I followed the recipe but I added one more egg .And I used this very egyptian traditional tool to chopp finely spinach, it worked very well.


Here you are some pics for it "I do not know its name in english" :))) , it name in arabic is "Makhrata".And here you are the final result, Hahahaha !!


And here you are the bechamel sauce recipe, I doubled it.

Bechamel:-

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
4 tablespoons (2 ounces/60g) unsalted butter4 tablespoons (2 ounces/60g) all purpose unbleached (plain) flour, organic stone ground preferred2&2/3 cups (approx 570ml) milkSalt and freshly ground pepper to tasteFreshly grated nutmeg to taste
Using a medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter over low to medium heat. Sift over the flour, whisk until smooth, and then stir (without stopping) for about 3 minutes. Whisk in the milk a little at a time and keep the mixture smooth. Bring to a slow simmer, and stir 3 to 4 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. Cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Season with salt, pepper, and a hint of nutmeg.

But I did not follow at all the Ragu recipe, first because some of the ingredients are not available in my country, second because of the presence of wine in the recipe so I made my own,
Here you are,

I Heated the olive oil in skillet (frying pan) over medium-high heat.
I Added 3 big onions , stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, 10 minutes, or until the onions barely begin to color. I added a half kilo of grinded beef meat, . Stir into the pan and slowly brown over medium heat. It will begin to brown after a while . Cook 10 minutes, or until the meats are a deep brown.
Reducing and Simmering: I Added some water and some milk to the skillet, lowering the heat so the sauce bubbles quietly. Stir untill all has reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add 4 grinded tomatoes . And Cooked it uncovered, for another 20 mn. , or until the sauce resembles thick, And I Seasoned it with salt and pepper and nutmeg .
I used when making lasagna layers some fried zucchini, it made it more tasty.
Actually, I made the pasta dough in one day, and bechamel sauce +ragu at the next day.
I had some left over from the lasagna dough, I used it, you know what I did with it????

Yes..... flat bread in my new invention "my home made flat bread's gadget"..The result was really nice, specially when I topped the loaf with some feta cheese.

do not judge from the appearence , It was tasty and the kids liked it.
I had also some leftover from spinach, so I made spinach fritata, on my way using zucchini, and it was sooo yummy, It was like a festival for spinach.
Thanks to all the Daring bakers team and special thanks to Mary of Beans and Caviar, Melinda of Melbourne Larder and Enza of Io Da Grande.
We really enjoyed dinner today !!!
Love you all !!
Ah !! forgot to tell you that I topped my lasagna with some romi cheese.
P.S:- Serve two pieces because they will ask you for more !!

10 comments:

  1. WOW Chahira! That was sooo creative of you! Everything looks awesome, I especially liked the flatbread with feta!

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  2. Lasagna is absolutely Gorgous and so yummmmmmmmmmmmmy
    because of ur lasagna iam hungry now.
    mashallah very good job
    I always hope to you the best
    Allah bless you my dear sister

    Fatma

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  3. This looks fabulous. In Italian, the Makhrata is a "mezzaluna" which means half moon - I don't know the name in English either as I've never seen one in Canada.

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  4. I don't even know where to start as everything looks amazing! I'm in awe of your creativity and ability to stretch one recipe into several! Way to go..and your lasagne looks awesome!

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  5. Very well done! Your lasagne look delicious and beautiful! Perfect...

    Thanks for passing by and for the kind comment!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    ReplyDelete
  6. yaatiki alef afieyeh ya sayidat al tabikh al arabi

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  7. everything is so green and you made so many dishes from the basic ingredients. Great work. Thanks for the comments on my blog. Very exotic country Egypt, Hope the recipes aren't too strange for you.

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  8. Pasta looks yummy. And flatbread, next time I make it - it will be with spinach.

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  9. I love the extra ideas you shared for the leftover dough and spinach. All your dishes look delicious!

    ReplyDelete

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