Fresh Lasagna Sheets for Bolognese

Fresh Lasagna Sheets

“Heh, come over here, kid, learn something. You never know, you might have to
cook for 20 guys someday. You see, you start out with a little bit of oil. Then
you fry some garlic. Then you throw in some tomatoes, tomato paste, you fry it;
ya make sure it doesn’t stick. You get it to a boil; you shove in all your
sausage and your meatballs; heh…? And a little bit o’ wine. An’ a little bit o’
sugar, and that’s my trick.”

Last night we enjoyed another Italian Sunday dinner and another Chef Anne Burrell homemade pasta success. I have learned to head straight to Anne’s pasta dough recipes lately because so many others are just plain heavy and I have to fiddle with the recipe too much even my oldest recipes. Use your favorite Bolognese recipe or make Anne’s version. My suggestion is to make your sauce with pork veal, and beef as I do everyone has his or her own version, but pretty much the same cooking process

My only adjustment to the recipe was to use White Lily AP flour as I was out of my usual AP flour. White Lily is a soft wheat flour and as it turns out makes a fantastic pasta dough, I had to use a bit more to get the required consistency, but that adjustment needs to be made with any flour as I have experienced. Copied and pasted Anne’s recipe because she can explain it much better than I can, the fresh pasta came out perfect and really spoils you. I do not think I will ever use dry lasagna sheets again.

Lasagna Bolognese with Fresh Pasta I

Lasagna Bolognese with Fresh Pasta.unbaked

Lasagna Bolognese with Fresh Pasta

Anne’s lasagna pasta recipe worked great in my food processor with my setting at about 5 ½ – 6 for thinness setting.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 to 2 tablespoons water, if needed

1. Combine all of the pasta ingredients in a food processor. Run the machine until the mixture begins to form a ball. You’re looking for a dough that is firm but not sticky. If needed, add water a drop at a time until it comes together. Place ball of dough on a lightly floured surface and invert a bowl over it. Let it rest for an hour. (You’ll have about 10 ounces or a little less than 2/3 pound of fresh pasta dough.)

2.  Get your work area ready; I like to line a large tray with waxed paper. Dust the waxed paper with flour. Keep more waxed paper and flour nearby.

3.  Working with a quarter of the dough at a time, run in through your pasta roller on the widest setting (usually “0″), then repeat this process with the roller set increasingly smaller (1, 2, 3) until the pasta is very thin. My Atlas machine goes to 9 but I almost always stop at 8 because this setting makes for thin, delicate pasta that’s not so fragile that I’m pulling my hair out with frustration trying to move it around.

If you find your dough sticking, lightly flour it. If it gets too big to handle, cut it in half. If the piece gets too wide for the machine or becomes annoyingly irregularly shaped, I re-”fold” the dough by folding the sides of the dough into the middle, like an envelope, and press it flat. Then, run the piece back through the machine with the open sides up and down on the widest setting again (0) working your way thinner. This allows the machine to “press” any trapped air out.

4.  Lay your pasta on the floured waxed paper in a single layer, trying to keep the pieces from touching. Flour the tops of them and place another sheet of floured wax paper on top. Repeat this process with the remaining dough and as many layers of pasta you need.

5.  Cut your pasta lengths into square-ish shapes. The fun thing about making fresh pasta for lasagna is that the shape doesn’t much matter; you’re going to tile together whatever you have and nobody will care if it took 9 or 16 bits to patch the layer together. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Have ready a skimmer, a large bowl of ice water and a large tray or platter that you’ve drizzled or spritzed with oil. Boil several of squares of noodle at a time for 1 to 2 minutes each (1 minute if you, indeed, went to the thinnest setting on your machine; 2 if you, like me, stopped one shy of thinnest). Scoop them out with your skimmer, swish them in the ice water and lay them out (still wet is fine) on the oiled platter. Repeat with remaining pasta. It’s okay to have your noodles touch; they shouldn’t stick together in the short period of time until you begin assembling but if you’re nervous, you can drizzle or spritz each layer very lightly with more oil.

Also try Anne’s Pappardelle: