Wednesday, 18 March 2009


The Daring Bakers!! TADAAAAAAAAAAAAA With a new majestic look! called The Daring Kitchen, I must say the whole team has done a wonderful job and is taken blogging as well as non blogging members to a whole new platform. Its just so wonderful to be a part of The Daring Bakers and The Daring Cooks, Oh yes Ivonne and Lisa have launched The Daring Cooks for passionate cooks :) So gather your cooking gear and get set for one astounding ride which will give daredevil challenges month after month :)
Now lets get to this months Daring Bakers Challenge.
The March 2009 challenge is hosted by Mary of Beans and Caviar, Melinda of Melbourne Larder and Enza of Io Da Grande. They have chosen Lasagna of Emilia-Romagna from The Splendid Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper as the challenge.
The challenge is to Make your own spinach lasagna by rolling it with hand or using your machine.Then make your bechamel sauce and ragu sauce which is a meat sauce. Or make a sweet lasagna. Well i very predictably choose not to make the sweet one :) Yea being a cheese freak i had not much choice left.
Lately Ive been reading a bit about Italian food and happen to read this about Lasagna The etymology of the word lasagna is amusing. It starts with the Greek lasanon which means 'chamber pot'! The Romans borrow it as lasanum to humorously refer to a 'cooking pot'. Later, the Italian word lasagna (plural of lasagna) came to refer to a dish cooked in such a pot - flat sheets of pasta layered with minced meat and tomatoes topped with grated cheese. Soon, the word lasagna was applied to the pasta itself. Its always good to learn stuff about what your eat, little facts make it more fun to cook and eat as well. I Have made lasagna lots of times but never happened to make the pasta sheets at home. Well i feel its totally worth the effort because i could make out the difference in softness. The shelf pasta has a lil rubber like texture which i don't enjoy at times, Fresh pasta had this amazing soft and creamy taste. (The effort one puts in to hand roll these make the result much more sweeter than it is :) lol)
MY husband lovedddddddd it!! and that's what gave me my verdict to this months challenge!!AWESOME!
So here's the recipe,
Egg less Spinach Lasagna

1.5 cup semolina flour 1.5 cup plain flour
1.5 cup blanched chopped spinach Water as required Olive oil Salt
Mix the semolina, flour, spinach and salt and gradually add water and oil as required to make a nice pliable dough. Leave the dough for about half hour to rest, covered with a cloth in a warm place. Half hour should be the at least time i feel , more the better as it gets stiff enough to let it roll easily. I left it for 3 hours before rolling.
If you are making the pasta by hand, roll the dough out as thinly as possible. It sure takes a lot of effort but trust me u wont regret. Keep dusting some flour while u roll on both the sides so that the dough does not stick. Once done cut them into rectangular sheets. Here is also a detailed version on how to hand roll your pasta . Stretching and Thinning:If using an extra-long rolling pin work with half the dough at a time. With a regular-length rolling pin, roll out a quarter of the dough at a time and keep the rest of the dough wrapped. Lightly sprinkle a large work surface with flour. The idea is to stretch the dough rather than press down and push it. Shape it into a ball and begin rolling out to form a circle, frequently turning the disc of dough a quarter turn. As it thins outs, start rolling the disc back on the pin a quarter of the way toward the center and stretching it gently sideways by running the palms of your hands over the rolled-up dough from the center of the pin outward. Unroll, turn the disc a quarter turn, and repeat. Do twice more.
Stretch and even out the center of the disc by rolling the dough a quarter of the way back on the pin. Then gently push the rolling pin away from you with one hand while holding the sheet in place on the work surface with the other hand. Repeat three more times, turning the dough a quarter turn each time.
Repeat the two processes as the disc becomes larger and thinner. The goal is a sheet of even thickness. For lasagna, the sheet should be so thin that you can clearly see your hand through it and see colours. Cut into rectangles about 4 by 8 inches (10 x 20 cm). Note: Enza says that transparency is a crucial element of lasagna pasta and the dough should be rolled as thinly as possible. She says this is why her housekeeper has such strong arms!
Dry the pasta at room temperature and store in a sealed container or bag.

( I know you have to let the sheets rest after rolling but i could not wait and so added them straight to the boil.)
Meanwhile Keep a wide pan filled with water to boil, add a teaspoon of oil as well as salt. Add the pasta to the boiling water, Fresh pasta does not take too long to cook, so its just a matter of minutes that your sheets will start floating up and that's how u know that your pasta is cooked. Drain the pasta and place into cold water to stop the cooking process. Spread them on paper towels to dry.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
4 tablespoons (2 ounces/60g) unsalted butter 4 tablespoons (2 ounces/60g) all purpose unbleached (plain) flour, 2&2/3 cups (approx 570ml) milk Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Using a medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter over low to medium heat. Sift over the flour, whisk until smooth, and then stir (without stopping) for about 3 minutes. Whisk in the milk a little at a time and keep the mixture smooth. Bring to a slow simmer, and stir 3 to 4 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. Cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper.
The challenge asked us to use Ragu which is a meat sauce, so i just made my simple
Herbed Tomato sauce.
1/2 chopped onion
1 can tomato sauce
1 tsp oregano 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
pinch salt
Saute onion in oil over medium low heat until tender. Add remaining ingredients; simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Makes 1 cup of tomato sauce. I layered the lasagna with Grilled eggplant and cheese slices.


  1. Eggless spinach version sounds interesting...I loved the challenge as well..

  2. What pretty lasagne! You did a great job!



  3. Your eggless version is different from mine. Simple in flavours but looks delicious. Really "less is more".

  4. Mmm, your lasagne looks amazing!! Great job making it eggless =D!

  5. My mother (who is Italian) says that in Italy her mother made pasta with either egg whites or olive oil because...well... many area's of Italy are very poor. That is still how my family makes it here in Canada and I think it is the missing flavour from the pasta I have been making. So what I am trying to say is that you might be on the road to authentic Italian cooking!

  6. Yumm.. absolutely delish! LOOOVVEEE how you arrange the tomatoes and basil on the top! Too cute