Videojug.com is one of the websites that has great videos, step-by-step procedures and clear explanation of how to go about stuffs. It covers cuisines all over the world. I could never imagine of making pasta at home without a pasta-maker had I not come across this video online on Videojug.com to make pasta at home. I want to thank videojug for sharing the recipe in an easy way. I followed it the way they showed and it came out wonderful. Fresh pasta - all made at home! I opted using oil instead of eggs. I think you should definitely watch the video. It's brilliant!
It's not very easy to get a lasagna sheet here in India. Few big malls do have it I suppose. But since the demand is quite low, they usually stocks old products which are about to expire. After all the futile efforts of looking for good lasagna sheets, I decided to make the lasagna sheets at home. It was not as difficult as I expected it would be. The sheets came out perfectly well, so did the sauce and my veggies. The outcome was good and beyond my expectations! My only complaint, I wish I had an oven that could heat to higher temperatures. It seems to take ages for the cheese to brown :( Infact, I ran out of patience and removed it before it could brown well. Anyways, it came out so rich, creamy and cheesy that my husband insisted that I should serve this when we have guests over the weekend.
I have made Lasagna a couple of times. The sauce and fillings can vary. Freshly prepared tomato sauce with mixed herbs, readily available pasta sauce, white sauce, etc can be used in combination. Use as varied veggies like aubergines/brinjals, colored peppers, mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, baby corn, cauliflower, etc. I opted for a simple one with a combo of mushroom and capsicum as it goes best with white sauce. My favorite however is Spinach Lasagna where cooked spinach and cream are added between layers of Lasagna along with these veggies.
Mushroom Capsicum Lasagna
To make the Lasagna, prepare the following:
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup water
Salt to taste
Make a mound on the counter with the flour and create a well in the center. Add the salt and oil. Start pouring in the water slowly, mixing with your fingers between each addition. Add enough water to bring the flour together in a ball. Begin to knead the dough using more dough until it is smooth. At this point the dough should be a stiff dough (slightly more stiffer than). Wrap in plastic and let sit 20 minutes before rolling.
To roll, take a 6 inch ball of dough and place on a lightly floured surface. Begin to roll into a flat disc. Roll from front to back, turning the dough clockwise about 1/4 turn after every few rolls of the pin. Once the dough is stretched and is thin enough for your hand to be seen through, it's done. Cut into rectangles depending on the size of you baking sheets. Cut into rectangular slices of 8x12 cms each. I cut mine to a single 12" x 12" sheet as that was the size of my baking dish. Commercially available lasagna sheets are smaller rectangular stripes.
2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 ltr milk
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup grated Cheddar/Parmesan cheese
Prepare the veggies
1 cup capsicum
1 cup mushroom
Saute a cup of capsicum and mushroom on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Assembling the Lasagna
In an oven-proof dish start layering with lasagna sheets, followed by a layer of vegetable mixture, followed by white sauce, some lasagna sheets again, another layer of veggies, followed by the cheese sauce, then another layer of lasagna sheets followed by the remaining veggies and then the remaining cheese sauce. Top with grated cheddar and Parmesan cheese. Bake in oven at 180 C for about 30 mins or till the top cheesy layer browns.
You may wonder why I have used raw pasta sheets instead of the cooked ones. If the pasta is pre-cooked and baked, the lasagna may turn out quite wet and soggy. But if the raw pasta sheet is used, it absorbs some moisture from the veggies and sauce and cooks while being baked. The resulting pasta will retain it's shape and make it easier to cut. Otherwise home-made pasta sheet requires less than 3-4 mins to be cooked in boiling water. The best method to serve lasagna is to cool it for about 5 minutes after removing from the oven. Once the top layer is cool, it makes it easier to cut them into pieces without creating a mess. Serve hot with salads or as is. A treat to the taste buds! Loved every bit of it.... so cheesy... cheesy... creamy!