Jan 18, 2010

Vegetarian Lasagna

This was my second attempt making my own pasta noodles at home.  This ended up being a fun project that my sister and I worked on together and served to our family.  It turned out that a team-effort definitely worked best in my small kitchen – I was boiling the noodles and assembling the lasagna layers while my sister was rolling out the pasta sheets.  I'm not sure I would have had room to put all of the noodles if we had not done it this way! Everyone really enjoyed it and I would definitely try this again. 

Spinach pasta:
  • 5 ounces baby spinach, washed
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour, plus (a lot) more for dusting and rolling
Tomato sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped fine
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 16 ounces mushrooms, minced
  • ¼ cup white wine (I used vermouth) 
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained and pureed
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained and pureed
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
Ricotta cheese filling:

  • 16 oz. part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
nonstick spray
8 ounces (2 cups) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

For the pasta:

1. Place the spinach in a 12-inch skillet and add a few tablespoons of water. Turn the heat to high until the water boils, then reduce the heat and stir the spinach until it just wilts, about 1 minute. 
2.  Remove the spinach from the pan (don’t wash the skillet) and place it on a clean dishtowel. Pat and squeeze the spinach until it’s very dry, then finely mince it.
3. Add the flour to a wide bowl or pie plate, then make a well in the center of the flour. Lightly beat the egg, then add it to the well with the chopped spinach. Stir the flour, egg, and spinach together until thoroughly mixed, then started kneading. Knead, adding flour (we used a lot more flour during this step) as necessary to keep the dough from being sticky, until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.

4. Divide the dough into 3 balls. Work with one ball of dough at a time and leave the others covered with a damp dishtowel. Flatten the dough slightly, then roll it through the widest setting on a pasta roller. Fold it in thirds like a piece of paper going into an envelope, then roll it through the pasta roller again, feeding it with one of the open sides first. If at any point the dough is sticky, brush it with flour. Repeat the folding into thirds and rolling a few times. Without folding, run the pasta through the widest setting once more. Adjust the pasta roller to the next-thinner setting and roll the dough through the machine. Continue to gradually thin the dough until the third-to-last setting. Brush it with flour if the dough starts to stick at all. If the strip of dough becomes too long to handle, cut it into two shorter strips and work with each strip separately. Repeat the rolling, folding, and thinning with the remaining balls of dough, laying the sheets of pasta on dishtowels.
5. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add 1 tablespoon salt and reduce the heat until the water is at a lively simmer instead of a vigorous boil. Cut the strips of dough into 8-inch lengths. One by one, dip each rectangle of dough in the water, leave it for about 10 seconds, then remove it and rinse it under running water. Lay the strips of dough on dishtowels.
For the tomato sauce: 

1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in the same large skillet the spinach was cooked in. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onions just brown around the edges, about 8 minutes. 
2. Add the garlic and mushrooms and continue cooking and occasionally stirring until the mushrooms start to brown. First they’ll release a bunch of liquid, but then that will evaporate and they’ll brown. 
3. Pour in the wine and cook, scraping the bottom of the pan, until the wine almost completely evaporates, then add the tomatoes, salt and pepper. 
4. Bring to a simmer. Simmer the sauce over medium heat until thick, about 15 minutes.
For the ricotta filling: 
1. Combine all of the filling ingredients together until ready to assemble - keep refrigerated.

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375ºF. 
2. Spray a 9-by-13-inch pan with nonstick spray. 
3. Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of the pan, then add a layer of noodles. 
4. Spread 1/3 of the ricotta on the noodles, followed by 1/4 of the cheese, and 1/4 of the tomato sauce. Repeat the layering (noodles, ricotta, cheese, tomato sauce) twice more, then finish by adding a layer of noodles, the last of the tomato sauce, and the last of the mozzarella.
5. Spray a large sheet of aluminum foil with nonstick spray, then use it to cover the lasagna. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and continue to bake for another 15 minutes, until the lasagna is bubbling around the edges. Remove the pan from the oven and let the lasagna set for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Source: adapted from The Way the Cookie Crumbles


  1. I've made pasta from scratch so many times, and not once has it not been a mess! It is fun though!

  2. Thanks for sharing this. Sound great and healthy!