The difference between handmade pasta and store bought, prepackaged pasta is incredible. Handmade pasta is very tender, not chewy or rubbery at all. I’ve made lots of pasta using unbleached, organic white flour and it was good. Recently, I met a wonderful cook from Sicily and she told me that pasta made with semolina flour was much better. I tried it and I am glad I did! It really was much better! The dough was very elastic and I was able to get it thin very easily. The taste was better too. It was lighter, more tender and refined but kept its shape when cooked. In a recent post, I made FreshTomato Sauce and had it with semolina pasta for dinner that night. Using the same dough recipe, I made lasagna noodles. It was a lot less time consuming to make the big lasagna noodles than it was making individual little noodles. Also, you don’t cook the lasagna noodles before you assemble your dish. I made a small square pan and cut the noodles to size. Here’s the recipe :
- 1 1/2 cups semolina flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs- slightly beaten
- 2 Tablespoons water
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
Combine flour and salt. Add egg. Mix in water and oil. Work the dough with your hands until everything is smooth and combined nicely. Then knead for 10 minutes. Wrap the dough in a damp towel or in plastic and let it rest for about half an hour.
Divide dough into 3 pieces . It’s easier to work with in small amounts. Wrap the rest of the dough up until you’re ready to use it. Sprinkle your work surface thinly with white flour and keep it that way. Flatten dough with your hands and stretch it. Continue stretching the dough by hand and roll the dough out evenly with a rolling pin. Keep in mind that you will be cutting this into lasagna noodles and try to roll it into a rectangular shape. Flip it frequently, while you can , until it starts getting too big or too thin. Continue to roll and stretch until it is nice and thin.
Cut your noodles with a knife or pastry wheel. They should be about 3 inches wide. I made two, 9 inch square pans, because I wanted to freeze one so I cut all my noodles 9 inches long. If you are using 1, 13 x 9 inch pan, cut them 13 inches long.
13 x9 inch pan, preheat oven to 350 degrees
- 7 cups tomato sauce
- 14 ounces ricotta cheese
- 1 pound mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced or shredded
- 1 pound lasagna noodles
If you are using homemade noodles, they should not be cooked before assembling. Packaged noodles need to be cooked.
Spread a thin layer of sauce at the bottom of pan. Arrange a single layer of lasagna noodles over that. Spread the noodles with 1/3 of your ricotta. On top of that, scatter 1/4 of your mozzarella evenly and cover with about 1 1/2 cups of sauce. Add another layer of lasagna noodles and repeat process. Continue in this manner until you get to the top of your pan. There will be 4 layers of pasta and 3 layers of filling. End w ith a single layer of pasta and cover with you remaining sauce and remaining mozzarella.
Bake for about 45 minutes. Let it stand for about 15 minutes before serving . This gives it a chance to set a bit.
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