Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Rosie Makes Not-Yo-Mama's-Lasagna.

Like I said, this ain't yo Mama's lasagna. The inspiration for this meal came from a Food Network show with Tyler Florence. He was visiting Italian pasta makers. One of the sauces for their lasagna was a pesto and Ricotta combination with a lot of olive oil in it. I recall the olive oil now, but when I was making this, the olive oil was an afterthought for me.
Here's the finished baked dish. I added EVOO (That's Extra Virgin Olive Oil!) on top before baking and baked it until the topping was nice and brown.
Let's get started. First, let's make some pasta.
That's Mama Hawthorne's mixing bowl. I remember it from my childhood. I'm thinking she made chocolate brownies in it. I've had it for a while and this is the first time I'm using it. My ingredients: 1 pound of flour 4 eggs And you'll need some water and olive oil.
Make a well in the flour and break the eggs into it.
You know I love my egg shots. And my Dixie shots.
And my action shots.
Working around the outside, fold the flour over the eggs. This requires hands, not utensils.
Keep turning and working.
To soften the dough, add in a little olive oil ...
... and/or water.
Turn the shaggy mess onto a floured bowl and continue to work the dough, adding oil as needed, until you have a smooth, uniform texture and color.
When the proper texture is achieved, form the dough into a ball, cover it with a towel, and let it rest while you make pesto.
I have two different types of basil growing. The paler green on the left is lemon basil. The bright green in the center is your regular basil.
I'm using the regular basil. Backtrack up to where I said, "I have two different types of basil growing." I originally wrote, "I have two different types of pesto growing." Alert loyal reader Ticky caught me on that within minutes of my post:
"I have two different types of pesto growing."
You have pesto growing? Cool. Thanks, Ticks. I know you have my back. I told the Tickster I'd be happy to show her my bed of gazpacho next time she was here.
Here's today's recipe for my pesto: 8 cups loosely packed basil leaves 4 large garlic cloves 1 cup pecans 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese salt 3/4 cup ELBOO (That's Extra Light Bertolli Olive Oil!) Process basil, garlic, pecans, and Parmesan, then drizzle olive oil while machine is running. Taste test. I added some salt. This made 2 cups of pesto.
I washed off the basil and picked all the leaves off.
Garlic and pecans into processor.
Basil in.
Process and add in Parmesan.
While the machine is running, add in olive oil. Beau and Dixie in the background.
This made slightly over two cups.
I measured out 1 cup of pesto and added 1 cup of ricotta.
Mix ...
... until well blended. Cover and refrigerate. Back to the pasta.
I divided the dough into small pieces.
And I started rolling in my pasta maker. I have settings 1 through 7 and I got up to #5 with these.
I ran the dough through each setting several times, in opposite directions, then went to the next setting.
I get better with practice.
When I got to the #4 setting, I folded my dough in half and ran it through several more times.
The 3 lengths in the background I rolled out to the #5 setting. Mr. Hawthorne complained they were too thin, so the last 2 I stopped at the #4 setting.
I sliced them into squares ...
... stacked 'em up ...
... and had Mr. Hawthorne help with dropping the sheets into salted, boiling water.
Homemade pasta cooks in a fraction of the time as store bought. These were ready in about 2 minutes. Drain in a colander.
Apparently before I cooked the pasta, I prepared my veggies.
Squash from the garden, diced. Some kind of pepper from the garden, possibly Anaheim. Tomato and 1/2 onion.
I PSJ'd my mater. What's that, you ask? Why, I Peeled, Seeded, and Juiced my tomato! Peel it first. I use a Zyliss peeler for soft-skinned vegetables and fruits. (Mine is the red one, the first one at the top. But now that I've seen all the others, I may have to go Amazon shopping.) Then slice the tomato in half, stick your fingers in the jelly pockets, and squeeze with the other hand. The jelly and juice and seeds come right out and you're left with the nice tomeato.
I chopped the tomato and onion and sliced the pepper.
I have easily accessible scallions (left) and chives (right) growing on my deck. I'll try and plant three more boxes tomorrow of dill, cilantro, and basil on the deck tomorrow. Love to have summer herbs during the winter.
Basil, chives, and scallions.
Mince 'em.
A little LOLUB and ELBOO in the pan. (That's Land 0' Lakes Unsalted Butter and Extra Light Bertolli Olive Oil!) And add in the squash.
Salt and pepper and a soupcon of sugar.
After a minute or so of sauteing the squash, add in the onions ... Rosie tip: An older squash needs more cooking time. An older squash will have a thick yellow skin. A younger squash will have a thin, light yellow skin. Younger squash are much more tender than older squash. If you have to buy them, look for the smaller, smooth-skinned squash. If you grow them yourself, pick 'em young, but then you already know that.
... add in the pepper ...
... and the tomato.
The bit of sugar I sprinkled over the squash
brought out the natural sugars in the veggies and helped to caramelize the squash. Here's my set up:
I'm ready to assemble. In the pot in the back is my pasta resting in the colander. To the left is my pesto/ricotta mixture. In the skillet to the right is my squash/pepper/onion/tomato mixture. The baking dish has a bottom layer of the pesto mixture. And on the chopping board I have minced chives and scallions to go in the veggies and some basil to chiffonade and top the lasagna along with some chives and scallions.
Add some chives and scallions to the veggie mixture.
I added some pasta sheets and some more of the pesto/ricotta mixture.
Add a little of the veggie mixture.
I decided the pesto/ricotta needed extra olive oil to make it more spreadable.
Just keep layering pasta, pesto, and vegetables.
Top with pasta sheets and grated Parmesan. Dixie's watching in the background.
I chiffonaded my basil ...
... and added the basil, chives, and scallions to the lasagna.
I drizzled some EVOO (That's Extra Virgin Olive Oil!) over top and popped it into a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until the top was nicely browned.
The addition of the olive oil on top gave the pasta a nice crunch.
Feast on the pictures.
I don't understand pasta. It's just flour, eggs, water, and oil. That's it. And homemade pasta is so superior to store bought pasta there's no comparison. There's nothing like fresh pasta.
Homemade pasta is so light, it's almost not there.
I loved the squash. Excellent texture. Crunchy. And sweet.
Loved the crisp topping of pasta from the addition of the olive oil.
You really should try homemade pasta. It's like nothing you've ever had. Mr. Hawthorne and I had healthy helpings for supper, then the boys helped themselves, leaving one small piece for Mr. Hawthorne and me for lunch the next day. Another successful dish.


Anonymous said...

Can you make pasta without buying a machine? Seems like a lot of work, and I've never had homemade, but bet it tastes great!

Rosie Hawthorne said...

I wouldn't want to make pasta without machine.
I guess you could roller pin it out
but I don't think you'd get the consistency of the machine.
The machines are not that expensive and homemade pasta is amazingly superior to cardboard pasta. It's not all that much work. Actually, I enjoy it. It's something I schedule to do.
So that I can enjoy it.