I’ve had a recipe sitting around for about 10 years that I’ve been meaning to try. It’s from Food Network Canada and it’s for fresh pasta. Their recipe is 2 cups of all purpose flour to 3 eggs mixed with cracked pepper and a teaspoon of olive oil in the usual fashion.
Mound the flour and grind on a little black pepper.
Crack the eggs and add the olive oil into a well in the center of the flour.
Mix with a fork until it gets difficult to work with, then use your hands. Knead for 15 minutes.
Wrap the dough in plastic and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours.
I wanted lasagna, so, to make the sheets, I used my pasta roller to get the sheets to the appropriate thickness, and used a knife to make squares as big as my pan.
I wanted lasagna Bolognese, which consists of layers of pasta, meat sauce, and Beschamel.
This recipe is very similar to mine for Bolognese.
For the Bechamel, I make a roux by heating equal volumes of flour and butter (for this, 2 TBSP each) and cooking until it turns light brown.
Then I whisk in 2 cups of whole milk.
When I was ready to assemble, I did a layer of pasta, some meat sauce, some Bechamel, and a light grating of parmesan.
The last layer was just Bechamel and a little grated parmesan.
(Notice I didn’t boil the fresh pasta sheets.)
After baking for 40 minutes, it was beautiful.
I wanted to try Food Network’s Entwine, so I picked up the Cabernet Sauvignon, which I thought would work well with the meaty lasagna.
The wine was pretty awful, but the lasagna was divine.
What I read was that you can assemble the lasagna with blanched pasta sheets or with raw sheets, and that each produces different techniques. Since it’s baking well above the boiling point of water, the pasta will cook during the 40 minute bake. The final texture will differ depending on whether the pasta was cooked ahead. By starting with raw pasta in the lasagna, the starch binds within the layers and ties everything together.
In my lasagna, the pasta also had a great chewy texture, and I though melded nicely with the sauces. It was a very tender dish, and was easily eaten with a fork. It took me back to a trip to Orvieto, Italy where I had a small piece of lasagna with a glass of red wine, only the lasagna there had less meat sauce and more Beschamel, and their Beschamel wasn’t as dark as mine. But all of the flavors were there.
As for the pasta, this was a pretty decent recipe. I even made some tagliatelle with the remaining sheets. I’d argue that the noodles were a little chewier than my first shot, but I used a different type of flour this time. The AP flour was a hell of a lot easier to knead than the 00 flour, though.
Maybe the perfect pasta dough uses a mixture of the two flours…