Homemade Lasagna

Lasagna Finished ProductThis was a labor of love. I’ve learned to make a bolognese sauce that is pretty outstanding, but takes a few hours to make and at least one overnight to develop. We’ve had a pasta roller for about a year now and Cliff is getting pretty skilled at its use. If I was really a go-getter, I would have made my own ricotta and mozzarella, but I’m not happy with the texture of my homemade stuff (yet), so I just bought those. This is not a saucy lasagna, and the ultra-thin noodles combined with a conservative hand filling the layers yields a surprisingly light-textured product. Just FYI, we boil the lasagna noodles prior to assembly. I know that lots of people don’t, but I prefer it this way.

1/2 recipe fresh pasta, rolled into sheets on setting 7 (second to last – very thin)
8 oz/225 g frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed very dry
1 egg
1 c/250 g ricotta cheese
2 T cream
salt and pepper to taste
1 recipe bolognese sauce
2 small balls fresh mozzarella (preferably buffalo), drained and roughly chopped
1/2 c grana padano or parmesan, grated

Preheat oven to 375° F/190° C.

Take your sheets of pasta and cut them into lasagna sheets, roughly 6in x 4in/15cm x 10 cm. Don’t be too exacting – it helps to have a few small or odd-shaped ones to get complete coverage. If you have a rolling pizza cutter, it’s great for this task. In a large pot of rapidly boiling water, boil 3-4 noodles at a time for no more than one minute. Then remove to colander, run cold water over the cooked noodles and lay noodles flat on damp paper towels until it’s time to assemble. We ended up with about 20 noodles and used them all.

Put the spinach in a large bowl and add the egg, whisking until well-combined. Whisk in the ricotta and cream until mixture is smooth and even. Add salt and pepper and stir.

Lasagna -- halfway thereIn a 9×13 pan, spoon a little of the bolognese on the bottom and spread it into an even layer.
1) Place the first layer of noodles on the bolognese, making sure they completely cover the bottom of the pan, overlapping to seal the seams (noodles will stick to each other). Next, spread bolognese on the first layer of noodles, starting with 1/2 c/125 ml and adding more if needed to cover the noodles completely.
2) Add another layer of noodles, then top with half of the ricotta mixture, spreading it evenly to the edges of the noodles.
3) Another layer of noodles, then another layer of bolognese, this time with half of the mozzarella sprinkled over it.
4) Another layer of noodles, then the other half of the ricotta.
5) Another layer of noodles, then the bolognese and the other half of the mozzarella.
6) The last layer of noodles, with more bolognese spread on top and the grated cheese sprinkled on.

Cover the pan with foil and bake for 40 minutes, then uncover and keep baking for 15-20. After removing it from the oven, let it sit for at least 10 minutes before cutting into it.