Sunday 29 March 2009

Daring Bakers: Lasagna of Emilia-Romagna

"A lasagne is a whole meal in itself" Mr A&N commented while helping with this month's challenge. "The only problem with it is that it takes about three meal's worth of time to make."

In between a fussy Baby A&N and tired A&N parents, the lasagne took a while to make and gave us our latest night dinner in months - 9pm, our now-normal bedtime. The grandest element of this lasagne, as hosted by the triumverate of Mary of Beans and Caviar, Melinda of Melbourne Larder, and Enza of Io Da Grande, was the spinach lasagne sheets. Made from scratch and involving a whole load of finely chopped spinach, the pasta turns you into the Incredible Hulk during the 10 minutes of kneading, as the green of the spinach seeps in to both the flour and egg mixture, and on to your hands.

The requirement was to roll the pasta out by hand, and frankly this was the most time consuming part, both to perform the task as well as to understand the instructions and get the hang of what you ought to be doing. I was covered in flour and pasta dough for what felt like several hours, and Mr A&N had to step in and make the meat sauce to prevent a midnight dining time rather than a 9pm one. The meat sauce was our own bog standard variety (onions, garlic, bit of celery and carrot, beef, tinned tomato and tomato pasta, and a dash of balsamic vinegar and worcestershire sauce for a bit of extra flavor) because, as Mr A&N likes to remind me, he's not one to follow the rules (except that he is, but I indulge him sometimes). It was a joint effort to assemble and bake it, and by the time it was in the oven we both felt we deserved that 40 minute slouch back on the sofa.

But all's well that ends in lasagne, and the finished product is a definite I'll-have-a-second-helping-even-if-it-means-a-later-bedtime wonder. Fresh pasta makes a huge difference to both texture and taste, giving a softer and richer final product. Not one you can make every weekend (unless the kids are behaving themselves and you're feeling particularly spry/hyped up on caffeine), but certainly worth the effort once it's done.

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.


Dewi said...

It was pretty hard work to knead and roll the pasta wasn't it. Glad you like yours. Well done on this month challenge.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

;) oh yes all that kneading and rolling does turn you into the Incredible Hulk (or at least starts you on your way;)
We really enjoyed this. I couldn't have done this in one day.
Great lasagna!

Jenny said...

Well done - and getting the hubby to help is a bonus!