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 Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna from The Splendid Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper as the challenge.
In college I worked on the weekends at a gourmet pasta shop in Portland, OR. I learned all about different flavors of pasta and sauces, their shapes, how to cook it, etc. It was a great job because I got to eat a lot of good food. But I never made my own pasta because there are so many fresh pastas available in the refrigerated sections of the supermarket. If I needed a fresh lasagne noodle, I'd just to the Italian grocery store and get it from them.
So this challenge was about making the pasta, and not about the baking. And I definitely learned from mistakes this time for improvements next time.
We were required to make spinach pasta. I opted for the frozen chopped spinach to make life a little easier.
For some reason my brain wasn't thinking properly and so I was rolling the dough too thin. The pasta machine's increments went from 1-7 and I went all the way down to 6 when I should have stopped at 4.
My next mistake was that I did not let the noodles dry out like the instructions said. The reason I didn't was because I learned at the store that fresh pasta noodles would cook when in a lasagne covered in pasta sauce. The sauce would cook them while it baked in the oven. But because I rolled too thin, I probably should have dried these noodles out.
We were told we could use any ragu sauce we wanted but we had to include a bechamel sauce. This style of lasagne required just those elements: noodles, ragu, and bechamel with parmesan cheese thrown in too. I used my Godfather sauce.
Overall my lasagne tasted great, but my noodles were so thin that they pretty much dissolved into the sauce as if there was no pasta at all. Also, I happen to like lasagne with a ricotta layer in the middle. Guess I like that extra cheese.
Anyway, I'll give pasta making another try - only with plain and not spinach. And the next time I'll make thicker noodles.