Basic Homemade Pasta Dough

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Years ago, my mother bought me my very first pasta maker which I still have today. Back then, and in my early 30’s, the idea of making homemade pasta seemed daunting and so the machine sat idle in my pantry for the longest time.  A couple of years ago I pulled out the box, dusted it off and tried my hand at it. I have so many fond memories of watching my mom make homemade linguini completely from scratch—kneading, rolling, cutting and then hanging the pasta strips on poles between kitchen chairs for drying purposes. It’s funny how when you are young you take special moments in time for granted. Then when you are older and wiser these memories become priceless.

The other day I found the original, hand written gift card from when my mom first bought me the pasta maker. It was tucked inside the bottom of the cardboard box where it had successfully hidden for years.  Her words were wishes of love and happiness for me, for my family and my future; written words I thought I would never see again after she passed away…..

🍐 PREP TIME: 1–1.5 hrs.

🍐 INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 cups of unbleached, all purpose flour
  • 2 medium eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 medium egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup warm water, give or take

🍐 DIRECTIONS:

  1. Measure out flour and reserve 1/2 cup for use later (primarily for handling of dough so it does not stick to surfaces). Place remaining flour in mixing bowl.
  2. Make well in middle of flour and add all the eggs. Gradually mix the eggs into the flour using your hands.
  3. Place scraggly looking dough onto lightly floured counter top and slowly add water, turning dough with your hands until it starts to come together. Knead for several minutes.
  4. You know the dough has come together when it forms into a soft ball. If you press the top of the dough ball with your finger, it should indent but slowly bounce back.
  5. Cover the dough with a towel and place aside for 15 minutes.
  6. With a knife cut the dough into 1/2 inch sections, one piece at a time. Keep rest of dough covered.
  7. Lightly dust the dough piece and then place it through pasta machine at its largest setting. On mine it’s setting #1. Roll out dough, then fold piece in half, roll out again and then do this couple of times. Next, roll dough through setting #3 and then a couple times through setting #5. By then your dough should be like a sheet of pasta, but not too thin that it breaks.
  8. Repeat this process with all the dough pieces and make sure to place the dough sheets on a floured surface when the are done so they can dry out flat and not stick.
  9. Once dry, you can use your pasta sheets for whatever you want….. lasagna, spaghetti, ravioli or linguini. You can buy all sorts of attachments for a pasta maker or try making your favorite pasta by hand like my mom did💕

🍐 MANGIA! 

 

 

 

Summer Lasagna ☀️

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This is a twist on the classic meat lasagna recipe. Summer lasagna is perfect for the warm weather when you may want to keep meals light. I’ve included a fool proof recipe for white sauce which always ensures the lasagna will turn out creamy and flavourful. You can double the bechemel sauce recipe if you please. One of the reasons I love making lasagna for dinner events is because you can make it well in advance.  You can refrigerate your assembled, uncooked lasagna  for a good day or two— just make sure to keep it covered.

🍐 PREP TIME: 45 min- 1 hour

🍐 COOK TIME: 45 min @ 375 degrees F

🍐 INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 box lasagna noodles, use 9-12 sheets
  • Cooking oil/butter, to prepare pan
  • 2 Tbsp extra Virgin Olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch fresh spinach or 1 pkg frozen (drained)
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 small bunch asparagus spears, chopped
  • 1 small jar basil pesto
  • 1 container of ricotta cheese, 500 g
  • Fresh or dried basil, oregano, parsley, salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 large pkg or 1 large block Mozzarella cheese, grated (for cheese mixture & topping)

Bechamel (white) sauce

  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 3 Tbsp flour, all purpose

🍐 DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large frying pan, lightly saute chopped garlic and onion in oil. Add fresh spinach leaves and stir for a few minutes. Add chopped vegetables and cook until softened. Pour into bowl and set aside.
  2. In same pan, add milk with melted butter and mix together. Slowly incorporate flour while vigorously mixing. The mixture will begin to thicken gradually and when it boils take off heat, pour into a bowl and set aside.
  3. In a bowl, combine and mix together ricotta cheese, parmesan, mozzarella cheese, pepper, salt and other spices. Make sure to set aside some mozzarella cheese for topping.
  4. When building your lasagna, start by very lightly buttering the bottom of the pan, or use cooking oil spray. Prepare noodles by following box directions which normally involves boiling pasta in salted water for approximately 8-10 minutes.
  5. Lay  3-4 cooked noodles across to cover bottom of a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish. Spread a thin layer of pesto onto pasta, followed by a layer of spinach mixture. Then drizzle on third of white sauce, followed by cheese mixture. Repeat this process 3 or 4 times and end with a generous sprinkling of mozzarella cheese.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes or until top is lightly browned and contents is bubbly from sides.

🍐 MANGIA! 

Tip: If you want to create a ‘melt in your mouth’ lasagna, try making your own pasta dough. The extra effort is really worth it, especially for a special event. 🌟 💫 

 

 

Stuffed Pasta Shells

An easy dish to make but so, so good and fairly healthy for you. The four main ingredients include pasta, cheese, spinach and sauce. It’s a simple meal that will also impress. Hope someone out there tries it. I would love to hear from you.

Ingredients:

1 box Jumbo pasta shells

2, 500g Ricotta cheese

3/4 cup spinach, drain if frozenECFA17BB-6D32-4AC3-9E59-FB1029CA24D6

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

2 cups or so Mozzarella cheese, be generous

1 jar favourite Tomato sauce

Black pepper to taste

Dry Basil to taste

Salt, pinch

Fresh Basil for garnish

Olive oil

Directions:

  1. Boil large pot of water. Add pinch of salt.
  2. Add large pasta shells to water and cook al dente, approx. 15 min.
  3. Drain pasta and add a touch of olive oil so pasta does not stick.
  4. While pasta is cooling add Ricotta, parmesan, spinach, pepper and basil to large bowl and mix.
  5. Stuff pasta with cheese mixture, one shell at a time.
  6. Add a bit of sauce to the bottom of a baking dish and then place stuffed shells on bottom in rows, close together.
  7. Top with rest of sauce so pasta is covered.
  8. Add a generous layer of mozzarella cheese and top with pepper and basil.
  9. Cook at 350 degrees C for about 45 minutes or until bubbly. Add fresh 🌿 basil for garnish.

Mangia ! (serves 4-5)619B6BD2-A9A3-4B47-B85A-6A3ECBD05107