Saturday, March 28, 2009

DB: Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna

When I saw this month's Daring Bakers Challenge was going to be homemade lasagne I was genuinely disappointed. Oh how I love things sweet. But as always, I was up for the challenge. The March 2009 Challenge is hosted by Mary of Beans and Caviar, Melinda of Melbou
rne Larder and Enza of Io Da Grande. They have chosen Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna from The Splended Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper as the challenge.

The making of the noodles started out pretty good. My mountain of flour with the well of spinach and egg started out just fine.The spinach and eggs mixed together well, and the addition of the flour went well. I twas when it came time to make it the correct consistency that I was confused. I ended up add
ing 4 (or 5?) large eggs instead of the 2 jumbo it called for in order to have the d
ough be wet enough to absorb all the called for flour.
The kneading was hard. Not like kneading the other soft breads and other doughs I've kneaded. It was firm dough, didn't want to give a bit.
I tried my best to knead that s
tuff, but I was struggling. I even put it in my stand mixer, but the mixer made a weird noise and didn't seem to tolerate it well, so I took it out and tried to hand knead it as best I could. Here's my dough ball while it was resting.While the dough rested I got on with the ragu. It went pretty well I guess. I only used ground beef and turkey for the meats instead of all the variety of meats the recipe calls to put in a food processor.
I'm not sure about the ragu....I guess it turned out right? It didn't look how I expected it to. It was dry, not very much water, the milk didn't seem to make it creamy, and the texture was lumpy dumpy. Not a fan, probably won't make again.

Back to the pasta. It was more work to roll it out. I tried following the directions on how to stretch and roll, but it just wasn't happening. I did my best, but they were definitely not transparent (one of the "key" steps) sigh. Here are the sheets, rolled and dried, ready for boiling.
I didn't photograph the bechamel. It was just a cream colored blob. It tasted heavenly though. I had a heavy hand with the nutmeg, and I thought it was simply delicious. The bechamel was easy and tasty. Definitely something I'll make again in a different recipe.

Assembly wasn't too bad. I felt like I should have doubled the bechamel to have enough for all the layers. My lasagne turned out a bit dry. As I stated, I wasn't a huge fan of the ragu and it covered up that delicious bechamel. I probably should have cooked my thick noodles a bit longer, because they weren't as tender as I would have liked in the finished product.
Overall it was a good recipe. The fam enjoyed it, but we still have leftovers in the fridge from last weekend... Not a great sign. Usually the good experiments are gobbled up until there is not a crumb remaining. With a few adjustments and some store bought pasta, I would make it again. The pasta was too much effort for the outcome, and I probably won't be making it again. Good dinner overall though!


Beth said...

Sorry to hear that you were disappointed with the recipe, but good job getting through it anyway!

I made a different ragout as well. I didn't want to purchase all of those meats.

Michelle Dargen said...

Great job! I ended up doubling my bechamel because it didn't look like there was enough. I thought the pasta was good but I don't know if I would go through the trouble of making it again.

Debyi said...

Your lasagne looks great! I too love all things sweet, but pasta is scrumptious too! It's amazing how "easy" it is to make pasta, even by hand, just gives you a good arm workout.

Elra said...

Wow Jess, you did it! Your lasagna looks really delicious, and the layers are perfect. Well done dear.