Sunday, October 5, 2008

Spinach Lasagna

I finally got to put my birthday present to use and made lasagna! I am so proud of this meal because every part of it was made from scratch. Making the pasta dough wasn't difficult at all, but it required a LOT of space. Next time I will make sure I have all the counters cleared for the dough!

This lasagna was so good! I had Monica over for dinner the night I made it and she said it will now be her "go-to" lasagna recipe. It was totally worth all the time and effort. It was amazing!!!

Spinach Lasagna
Recipe from Williams-Sonoma "Mastering Pasta"

For the bolognese sauce:

2 oz thick cut pancetta, diced
2 small carrots, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
2 TBSP butter
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground beef chuck
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 cup drained and chopped canned Italian peeled tomatoes
1-2 TBSP tomato paste
2 cups canned low-sodium beef broth
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

For the spinach pasta dough:

1 bunch spinach (about 10 oz) stemmed and well trimmed
1/4 cup water
3 large eggs
2 1/2 cups flour

For the white sauce:

3 cups whole milk
6 TBSP butter
6 TBSP flour
3/4 tsp kosher salt

1 1/2 cups grated parmesan

BOLOGNESE: Heat the butter in a large skillet. When the butter has melted and the foam begins to subside, add the carrots, celery, onion, and pancetta and spread ingredients evenly. Cook, stirring occasionally, until all the ingredients are tender; about 30 minutes. When ready, they should be a rich golden brown and smell like caramel. If you think they are browing too much, reduce the heat slightly and stir in a spoonful of warm water to slow the cooking.

Add the ground pork and ground beef. Cook until lightly browned and crumbly. Add the wine to the pan, scraping the bottom to dislodge any browned bits. Cook until the wine evaporates, about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, 1 TBSP tomato paste, broth, milk, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Heat until small bubbles begin to form. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. (If the sauce seems to thick and threatens to scorch, add a little more broth.) Partially cover the pan and continue cooking for 1 - 1 1/2 hours. If you prefer more tomato flavor, add the other tablespoon of tomato paste. When the sauce is ready, use a large spoon to skim off any grease that floats to the surface. Cover pan and set aside.

PASTA: In a large pot over medium heat, combine the spinach and water. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the spinach is wilted and tender, 4-5 minutes. Drain in a colander and let cool. Place the spinach in a lint-free kitchen towel and wring dry.

Add the spinach to a food processor. Add the eggs and process until well blended. Add 2 cups of flour; process until flour is evenly moistened and crumbly. Continue to process, adding the reserved flour 1 TBSP at a time if the dough seems sticky, for about 30 seconds. A loose ball of dough will form on top of the blade.

Dust the counter with flour and knead the dough until it feels damp but not sticky and is an even green. This will only take a minute or two. Shape the dough into a ball, cover with a large overturned bowl. and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Knead and shape the dough with pasta machine according to manufacterers directions. Let dough dry for 10-20 minutes.

WHITE SAUCE: In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk. In another pan, heat the butter. When the butter has melted, add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture forms a paste, or roux. Remove from heat and add the hot milk, whisking constantly. Add the salt, return the pan to medium heat, and cook, stirring constantly until the sauce is smooth and thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from heat.

ASSEMBLING THE LASAGNA: Cook the pasta in boiling water until al dente (about 1 minute). Set aside on kitchen towels to drain.

Butter a 9x13 pan. Set aside 2 best pasta sections, 1/2 cup white sauce, and 1/4 cup parmesan for the top. Lay 2 sheets of pasta in bottom of pan. Spread the pasta with a thin layer of the white sauce, followed by a thin layer of bolognese sauce, using about 1/2 cup of each sauce. Sprinkle the bolognese with 1/4 cup parmesan. Repeat the layering process, creating 3 or 4 layers with the ingredients. End with the best looking pasta sections. Spread the top layer with reserved 1/2 cup white sauce and 1/4 cup parmesan.

Bake the lasagna in a 375 oven for 40 minutes, then check it. If it is browning too quickly, loosely cover with foil. Continue baking 5-15 minutes longer, or until bubbly. Remove from oven and let stand for 15 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.


The McBride Family said...

I will be making this recipe from now on!! Although I will omit the homemade noodles. Don't get me wrong they were BOMB! I just don't have the skill or patience! Thanks for having us over!! It was so good!!!

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