October 22, 2010

Lasagna with Homemade Basil Noodles and Sausage-Tomato Sauce

Ingredients:

for the sauce:
2 lb bulk Italian sausage (casing removed if necessary)
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cubanelle pepper, minced
56 oz canned coarse ground tomatoes
14 oz canned diced tomatoes
6 oz tomato paste
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
red wine (optional)
10 basil leaves
salt
pepper

for the pasta:
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup finely minced basil
3 eggs

for the filling:
1 lb ricotta
1/2 lb frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
1 1/2 cup mixed Italian cheese*
1 egg
salt
pepper

extra shredded cheese for sprinkling

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350. Start the sauce first. Brown the sausage in a large, heavy pot (I used this dutch oven) breaking up any large pieces. When nearly fully cooked, drain off as much fat as possible. Add the onion, garlic and pepper. Cook until the onion is translucent. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, balsamic, salt and pepper. Simmer as you make the pasta. It should reduce by about an inch and half or so. Add wine if desired periodically. Stir occasionally. When the sauce is cooked, stir in the basil leaves.


for the pasta:
While the sauce is bubbling away, pour the flour onto a clean counter top. Create a well on top and add the eggs. Knead together until a ball forms then work in the basil. Knead until a flexible dough forms. Divide into 9 equal balls. Roll through a pasta machine according to the package instructions. We rolled ours out through #5, rolling at each level twice on this machine. Hang until you are ready to use them.

for the filling:
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside until ready to use.

assembly:
Ladle a even layer of sauce over the bottom of a standard 9x13 inch pan, covering it thoroughly. Arrange three noodles in a single layer. Top with 1/2 of the cheese mixture then ladle more sauce on top. Repeat. Top for the remaining three noodles and cover with sauce.


Sprinkle with cheese. Cover in foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake an additional 30 minutes or until heated through. Allow to sit for a couple of minutes before slicing.



*I used a shredded six cheese blend that included Mozzarella, Provolone, Parmesan, Fontina, Romano and aged Asiago.


My thoughts:
This was a fun weekend food project. We planned out what we wanted to do and was on sauce and filling duty while Matt rolled the pasta out. It was surprisingly easy! Why has it taken so long for us to make fresh pasta for the first time. It didn't take as long as I would have thought and I think with practice we will get every faster. I think lasagna was a good first homemade pasta experiment because it was not only delicious (I loved the hint of basil) but we didn't have to bother boiling the noodles before using them because they were going to be baked buried in sauce. It sounds silly but eliminating that one step was great, I went right from finishing the noodles to layering to popping it in the oven with no lag time. Let me tell you, it was a spectacular lasagna. The sauce was complexly flavored, the noodles were awesome and well, we liked it so much, we had it for dinner twice vs. our usual leftovers for lunch/frozen for later new food for dinner routine. Yum. I already want to make it again.

Note: while it looks like a lot of sauce, I promise you will end up using all of it!


If you use sausage in your pasta dishes, enter this Johnsonville contest.

7 comments:

  1. Wow. This looks AMAZING. Oh to have a pasta maker!

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  2. I looked this over last night on my phone, showing the pictures to the husband as I scrolled. So you've given me my weekend cooking project. I've been wanting to try lasagna noodles in my pasta roller... looks fantastic!

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  3. I have made fresh pasta for lasagna before but not with fresh herbs. I have always wanted to do a spinach pasta but I'm really not sure have to handle it. Your idea of not cooking the noodles makes it easier. I just may do this because I just happen to have some fresh basil. It looks delicious and I don't have any plans for dinner on Sunday. I'll have so find the 56 oz can of tomato sauce.
    When you are looking for another project, try making your own ricotta. It is really not hard to do.

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  4. Oh wow this looks so good! I've been thinking I should try lasagna noodles on my pasta maker but hadn't gotten around to it yet. This looks delicious and like motivation to give it a try!

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  5. how bloody good is a good old fashioned lasagne.

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  6. I was asked to make Christmas Day dinner for my husband's fire house (since they were all working Christmas Day)and decided lasagna would be good. I have never made homemade pasta before so I was very worried about making this. Long story short, after this meal the house captain decided not to transfer to another house !!! It was perfect. It even looked like it did in your pictures. Thank you for making me look like star.

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  7. I was asked to make Christmas dinner for my husband's fire house, since they all had to work Christmas Day. They wanted lasagna so I decided to try this recipe instead of regular old lasagna, even though I have never made homemade noodles before. I was quite worried. Long story short, this turned out so good that his house captain has decided not to transfer to another station. Thanks for making me look like a Rock Star !!!

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