Friday, August 2, 2013


Since I find that I've got a lot of times on my hands during Ramadan I attempted to try my hand at fresh pasta lasagna for the very first time!   The only other time I recall having a lasagna with fresh noodles is when I was really young, and it was mostly due to the fact that we were begging my mother for lasagna when we lived in Northern Iraq where they did not sell dry lasagna pasta sheets.  My mother made the dough and I vaguely remember having pasta sheets all over the front guest living room where it was half drying.


- Meat sauce
- Noodles/Pasta
- Bechamel Sauce
- Roasted vegetables
- Tomato sauce (for top)
- Cheese

Meat Sauce: 

This sauce contains very little tomato, so here it goes

- 2 tbsp good olive oil
-1 1/3-1/2 lb ground beef (your choice of blend, I used one pound lean and another 1/3 of medium) 
- 2-3 tomatoes (cut X in the bottom, place in a metal strainer and in the sink. Add boiling water from the kettle over them)  remove skins and core, dice to a medium chop.
- Salt & black pepper

Heat olive oil and brown the meat nicely on medium high then reduce to medium low allowing them to develop brown bits at the bottom of the pot.  When it can't brown any more (after about 15 mins) add chopped tomatoes and all the liquid from the tomatoes, this should create steam that will remove all the delicious brown bits off the bottom of the pot and create a nice sauce.  Lower heat while adding the tomatoes so it doesn't splatter on you or remove hot pan from heat completely.

Cover and set aside.

Roasted vegetables: 

- 3 Zucchini - slice in thick rings 
- 3 Eggplant - sliced into thick rings 
- 2 Red onion - chop into thick wedges

Salt the eggplant heavely and set in a strainer in the sink. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes.
Salt the zucchini lightly over a large casserole.  Set onions aside.

Preheat over to 400 F and set out a large baking tray lined with parchment.

Squeeze the eggplant with your hands to remove any moisture, rinse with water to remove excess salt and continue to squeeze the liquid out until they look grey (and kinda ugly)

Set all the vegetables in a bowl and toss with olive oil.  Place on a tray in an even layer and roast until nice and golden (turning them from side to side often) 

Bechamel sauce: 

Follow this recipe 

Set the bechamel in a bowl and cover with cling wrap until ready to use.


- Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (about 1 1/2 cups!)
- 1 mozarella de buffala (fresh mozarella), totally optional! Thanks Country Cheese Company!

* Do not worry about the fresh mozarella, the liquid from this cheese will be absorbed by the fresh pasta so it will not be watery as it would it a traditional lasagna.

For the topping:

- 1 cup passata (strained tomato puree) 
- Salt & black pepper
- 1 tbsp good fresh olive oil (From Olive That!!)


This is a fresh pasta lasagna so either you can purchase the sheets from the store or you could make them like I did!

2 cups flour
4 eggs
Pinch of salt

In a large bowl add the flour and salt, mix, create a well in the center. Crack the eggs in and blend with hands bringing in the flour slowly to incorporate with the eggs.

Knead until it's a nice smooth dough, form a disk and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rest for about 15 minutes.

Using a pasta machine or a rolling pin and large work surface dust the dough and begin rolling it as flat as you can (you should be able to almost see through it)

Depending on what shape your casserole dish is either cut long strips or in a square/rectangle (or even circles like I did! Circles can be wasteful though, just a heads up)

You will need several layers of dough to create your lasagna, at least 5.

To assemble: 

Reserve some cheese by setting it aside. 

Add meat sauce to the bottom of the pan (a thin layer) 
Lay in a sheet of fresh pasta and from that point layer on everything else: 

- Meat sauce
- Pieces of roasted vegetables
- Grated cheese ( including soft pieces of mozarella de buffala lightly torn by hand or cut into slices)
- Bechamel

..... do several layers like this until you end with a piece of pasta and  pour over the passata fresh tomato puree.  Drizzle with the olive oil, season with salt & black pepper and sprinkle with cheese.

Bake in a preheated 400 degree F oven for about 45 minutes to an hour.

I hope you enjoy this recipe!

No comments: