Using your noodle

Lasagna bolognese…if you go light on the sauces, you can really highlight the delicate and unique green/spinach noodles. This dish takes a couple of hours to put together, but really is fun and simple! You have 4 main tasks with this dish. 1) Make the bolognese sauce 2) Make the noodles 3) Make the bechamel 4) Put the dish together.

1. There are many recipes for bolognese…really all you need is some saltly pork product (I used diced proscuitto), various ground meats (I like “meatloaf mix” or half beef/half sausage), mirepoix, garlic, thyme, wine & sauce. Render your salty pork, add mirepoix and saute until softened, then garlic and thyme. Add meat and lightly brown. Add about a cup of red wine and bring to a boil, then add about a cup of your favorite tomato sauce. Simmer until thickened.

2. The noodles are the fun ones. For a 9 x 12 pan of lasagna, you should make about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 lbs of noodles. For green noodles, blanch one bag of baby spinach and shock in ice water bath. Squeeze out as much water as possible and chop finely. Next, in your food processor, add 400 grams of flour, 2 tsp salt, 4 eggs, and the spinach. Pulse until the mixture is the consistency of coarse bread crumbs. Dump onto a floured surface, press into a ball and knead for about a minute. Wrap in plastic wrap for 30 minutes. Divide into 8 pieces. Take one piece and flatten. Send thru your pasta roller on #1, fold over and repeat 5 times. This further kneads the dough. Next, pass serially thru the roller until you get to #7. Make sure to dust with flour in between setting to prevent sticking. After you have rolled out all the dough, cut into 5 inch squares and blanch in salted boiling water for about a minute. Transfer to ice bath to stop cooking then drain on kitchen towels.

3. Make bechemel. Just like making gravy. Use 1 T of butter & flour per cup of milk. 2 cups is about right. If you happen to have any buerre manie, this works best. Bring milk to a simmer, add buerre manie and bring to a boil stirring constantly until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat, add some salt and pepper and a bit of grated nutmeg.

4. Put it all together. Put some ragu in the bottom of your dish. Top with noodles, then a thin layer of bechemel, then ragu, then a generous sprinkling of parmesean cheese. Repeat process until all the noodles are gone. Finish with bechemel and cheese layer.

Bake 375 degree oven for 45 minutes. Let rest 15 minutes before serving.


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