June 28, 2011

Baked Mushroom Lasagne

I lost a bet, which is unfortunately not that common. Unfortunate for me, that is. I owed the winners lunch- pasta.

I was in the mood to try something different today. And after checking the cupboards for what kind of pasta we had, I was forced to make pasta from scratch- pasta stock surprisingly over.

My Mum made lasagne twice in the past week, so I felt quite confident that I could do it.

For the pasta (enough for 6 people, or 4 big eaters):
2 cups of flour and 3large/4medium eggs. Break the eggs into a well made in the centre of the flour. Add a pinch of salt and mix from centre outwards. Knead dough. The book said ten minutes, but it took me longer. Guess I need to work on my biceps. It should form a nice smooth, easily pliable ball. Keep aside wrapped in a slightly moist tea-towel.

I used a pasta machine to make the lasagne sheets, and then placed in boiling water for about 1-2 minutes. 

Tomato Sauce: I used some leftover sauce from yesterday, so not sure of the exact quantities. Boiled and pureed tomatoes. Fry garlic and finely chopped onions in olive oil with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and a pinch of sugar. Add pureed tomatoes and cook for ten minutes.

Bechamel Sauce: Add salt and pepper to hot olive oil (about 4 tablespoons). Add 2 tablespoons of flour and a teaspoon of Italian herbs. Stir continuously for a minute. Slowly pour half a litre of milk. Keep stirring to prevent any lumps. Nothing can be worse than lumpy white sauce! Once off the heat, add one third cup of grated cheddar (or any other cheese). Quantity of cheese can be reduced since more cheese will be added to the lasgne. Make sure that the sauce is off the fire, cheese can split the milk. Ugly experience.

Note: According to my biggest food critic- my mother- It's not called a Bachamel sauce if there is no nutmeg. Oops. Please add a teaspoon of powdered nutmeg just before you add the milk.

Mushroom filling: Add 8 chopped cloves of garlic and one cup of finely chopped onions to hot olive oil. Cook till slightly brown. Add 4 cups of diced mushrooms. Seems like a lot, but it will reduce to half. Add salt.

The exciting part- putting it all together!
Start of with layer of lasagne sheets, then tomato sauce and mushrooms, then more pasta, then grated cheese and white sauce. Keep layering up till the top. Finish off with white sauce and cheese right on top.

Bake in the oven for about half an hour will the cheese is a beautiful golden.


Note: Even though this was a pretty good outcome for my first attempt, some pointers-
1. Make pasta sheets thin. Mine was a bit too thick.
3. I only used cheddar and a tiny bit of parmesan that I could find. Use more parmesan and even mozzerlla.
2. Make sauces thick. Weight of pasta and slippery sauce didn't let it stand like this- Click for a perfect picture.

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