Sunday, May 24, 2009

Home Made

In a twist to the tradition of my recent Saturday Cafe pics, today's photo food is handmade. Here's last night's dinner: lasagna made from scratch:

If you've never made lasagna from scratch, here are the basic steps:

  • Start with flour and eggs. We were lucky enough to have real eggs from my friend's farm.
  • Make up the pasta dough and put it to rest in an airtight container.
  • While the fresh made egg pasta is resting, make the white sauce.
  • The bolognese sauce needs to be made ahead, since it needs quite a while to simmer nicely.
  • Put your biggest pot on to boil with plenty water to cook the lasagna in.
  • Roll out the lasagna sheets using a pasta machine
  • The lasagna sheets need to be cooked one at a time in the boiling water, before being placed layer by layer in the baking dish--that's where the big towel next to the stove comes in. The lasagna is hot and wet when it comes out of the pot. This step is the trickiest one.
  • Alternate layers of pasta with layers of your different sauces. Plenty of parmesan and mozzarella too of course. The lasagna sheets should be put down in alternating directions at right angles to each other.
  • Finish it off with white sauce topped with a layer of pasta.
  • Dot with butter and put it in a moderate oven until it's golden brown on top.
  • Depending on your situation and personality, you can spend the next half hour frantically cleaning up the mess, or putting your feet up, looking forward to a great meal.

You can imagine, all those steps took a fair bit of time and effort. My friend W had made the bolognese sauce before I arrived, and R helped with the lasagna sheets. W was the one to clean up all the floury mess, while I had a break. Even so it was more than three hours work. Lots of fun, though. And to prove that it's really true, here's a shot of my beautiful assistant handling one of the lasagna sheets as it came out of the pot of boiling water.

"How did I manage all that on a Saturday?", you ask! Well, as it turns out, May this year has five Saturdays, so yesterday was a bonus day: no class and no market.

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