Homemade lasagna [and a green version]

homemade lasagna

Today we’ll talk about lasagna and more specifically on how to make a delicious and yet easy homemade lasagna.

I think lasagna should be considered as an Italian Icon. Dont’you agree?

Lasagna is a different kind of pasta. What makes it different is that unlike other pasta dough recipes this one has eggs in it.

There are other kind of pasta – besides lasagna – made with the same dough like tagliatelle for example or cannelloni.

Sometimes this pasta dough – with eggs in it – is combined with spinach. This is why homemade spinach lasagna are so popular. But you could also find spinach tagliatelle and I’m telling you they are delicious!

Tagliatelle are like long flat spaghetti and the dough is supposed to be really thin. Lasagna is made with the same dough but shaped in thin large rectangular.

Like all other Italian recipes there is a region where everything started…Lasagna, tagliatelle, cannelloni and all different sorts of egg dough pasta come from Emilia Romagna. If you really love homemade lasagna, and all this typical pastas you should visit Bologna one day.

lasagna

Bologna is a nice city of Emilia Romagna and it’s the place you want to visit if you want to enjoy some traditional Italian foods.

One day Grandma and two of her friends went to Bologna to go shopping at a very well known antiques fair that periodically takes place in that area. They love going antique shopping.

Gradnma, Anna and Nennele (these are the names of her best friends) are antique fanatics (besides being Italian cooking fanatics of course!)

Anyways whenever they go to Bologna they eat at this very traditional restaurant where they only serve homemade pasta. When pasta is homemade you can really tell the difference because it’s more moist, very thin and you can taste all the fresh genuine ingredients combined together.

After lunch Grandma and her friends had a nice walk in the ancient center of Bologna a very town and an important University center of our country. Bologna is a pleasant cheerful town where interesting cultural and culinary activities are always taking place.

lasagna bolognese

I consider this region a treasure of Italy full of tradition where people are really welcoming and outgoing.

But anyways let’s get back to our homemade lasagna.

One of the most popular homemade lasagna sauce is Ragù.
Ragù is tomato sauce with minced meat and it’s supposed to cook for a long time to get a very rich and intense flavour. Actually my Grandma prefers to cook Ragù one day ahead because she says the if it sits there all night the next day it’s even tastier.

So one way to serve traditional homemade lasagna is with Ragù Bolognese.

The first recipe I want to share with you today is a very easy homemade lasagna sauce:
Grandma’s favourite Ragù Recipe.

It’s really easy and simple. Once you’ve made it you can use it to top your lasagna or to make other kind of pasta recipes as well. If you want you can make extra and freeze it for next time you’ll need it.

  • Here is the list of the necessary ingredients to make Ragù lasagna sauce:

– minced up calf meat
– tomato sauce
– half glass of wine (white or red)
– 1 onion
– 1 clove garlic
– 1 celery
– 1 carrot
– bay leaves
– salt
– extra virgin olive oil

In a pan pour a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and sauté sliced onion, garlic, carrot and celery with some bay leaves.

(Use the bay leaves if you like the taste of it, Grandma always use it. If you don’t like it you can simply replace it with basil leaves).

When all you veggies are golden add minced up meat and when it’s cooked pour a half glass of wine and let evaporate.

Add tomato sauce and salt. Always keep aside some warm vegetable broth or water to add if the sauce gets too dry while it cooks.

You should cook your Ragù Bolognese for about two hours and then let it sit there one day or overnight to get a richer taste.

This is a really easy homemade lasagna sauce that you can try.

Once it’s ready just pour some sauce in a deep baking pan, add creamy béchamel and a layer of your fresh homemade lasagna.
Repeat for five layers topping each lasagna layer with Ragù Bolognese Sauce and creamy béchamel.

On top of the last lasagna layer spread a handful of grated Parmesan cheese.

Bake in the oven at 374°F for about 40 minutes until it’s bubbling and the top it’s golden.

At our villa in Tuscany we love to experiment new recipes and share them with our family and friends.

Tuscany

Here is a special homemade lasagna recipe with Pesto sauce.

I love this one especially in the summer because I think the scent of Pesto really makes you feel that Mediterranean vibe soaked with sunshine, jasmine flower and clear blue skies.

  • Make sure you have the following ingredients:

– fresh basil leaves
– pine nuts
– garlic
– Pecorino cheese (grated)
– Parmesan cheese (grated)
– Stracchino cheese
– extra virgin olive oil
– salt
– pepper
– butter
– lasagne

Mince up fresh basil leaves, garlic and pine nuts in a blender with some extra virgin olive oil. Mix until all ingredients are well blended then add salt and pepper.

Pour the mixture in a bowl add Pecorino cheese, Parmesan cheese and some extra virgin olive oil. Stir well until all blended.

Preheat the oven at 356°F.

Butter a skillet and place your first layer of lasagna at the bottom of it. Pour some Pesto sauce over the lasagna layer.
Now again place some other lasagna on top of the pesto and proceed until you have about 5 layers (lasagna, pesto-lasagna, pesto for five times).

Spread some Stracchino cheese on top of the last layer and let cook in the oven for about 30/40 minutes.
Until bubbling and the top coat is golden.

I hope you will enjoy this special version of lasagna!

homemade lasagna

  • I still have to tell you about how to make homemade lasagna:

you’ll need about 0,88 pound of flour, 5 small eggs and a dash of salt.

You need to clear out your counter top and spread some flour on top of it so that the lasagna dough won’t stick to it.

Pour the flour and form a little volcano (a small flour mountain with a hole in the center!).
In the center you will open up the eggs and add salt.

Start mixing the flour and the eggs.
Go in circle with the flour meaning: start with some from the center of your flour volcano hole and then keep adding some from the edges.

Once you form a ball of dough keep kneading until well blended and homogeneous and then wrap it with a kitchen towel and let it sit in a cupboard (or in the dark anyways) for about one hour.

At this point you have to use a rolling pin to spread the dough and form thin rectangular lasagna. I suggest you to cut the dough in small squares to make it easier.

  • Bottom line

So we’ve learned a lot today…We discovered new things about the origin of Lasagna but mostly we have new homemade lasagna recipes to try! Let me know if you try both the Ragù and the Pesto lasagna. I really want to know if you enjoyed them and which one you prefer.