And that's a LOT shorter than the original title, which was "Lasagne of Homemade Ricotta, Homemade Mixed Greens Lasagne Noodles, and a Quick Homemade Tomato Sauce." The "mostly" refers to the mozzarella string cheese I used (hadn't made my OWN mozzarella at this point) on top of the lasagne.
Okay, well, first off, I made the Ricotta cheese. I love Ricotta, by the way. In my post about making the ricotta, someone commented that I should not waste milk on making Ricotta, but I disagree – I could eat the whole batch of Ricotta ALL BY MYSELF WITH JUST A SPOON and would consider it a really good use of my time. There's just something about it. Yum.
Okay, so the Ricotta was in the fridge, just waiting to be eaten (either by me with a big spoon, or in some other food form and shared with my family), so I made another batch of pasta dough. This time, I wanted to make a green pasta, so I just went out to the garden and picked some things. Really. I don't have measurements – I just picked a couple of arugula leaves…a couple of swiss chard leaves…a mustard green leaf…a stalk of oregano…some chives…I think that was it. I also thawed a some basil that had been frozen in olive oil, and I think I used a couple of garlic scallions. I rinsed off everything from the garden, patted it dry, and then whirled it and three eggs in the food processor.
While the greens were drying (before I pureed them with the eggs), I poured the rest of the Semolina flour I had into my big white bowl (there was maybe half a cup) and added a couple of cups of flour and a sprinkling of salt. I made a well, and then, after the greens and eggs were combined, poured that mixture into the well.
I stirred the flour into the liquid with a fork, and I added some water as needed to work the mess into a dough. I think it was about half a cup or so of water.
And then I kneaded for about 10 minutes or so…
until it was a nice, smooth (well, except for the small bits of greens and garlic poking out here and there) ball of dough.
It smelled REALLY good… (I'd invite you to inhale deeply…but it wouldn't do any good…all you can do is look…)
And then I wrapped it in plastic and put it in the fridge.
And I left it in the fridge til the next day. And oh, boy, did it smell even better when I unwrapped it that following afternoon.
I divided the dough into sixths or eighths, pressed and rolled each piece into a sort of rectangle thin enough to go into the pasta roller, and then I rolled each piece out into sheets. I then cut each sheet into 3 or 4 pieces – VERY rustic –
and set them on cookie racks while I rolled out and cut up the rest of it.
No – wait, I'm mistaken. I didn't use all of it up – I used about 2/3. I saved some to make into linguine later on. And then there were also the scraps my kids claimed.
(that's a smiley face that Julia made)
Actually – Julia had helped roll out the sheets of dough – she's become a pro with the pasta roller – so much so that if I attempted to assist her in any way, say, by catching the sheet of dough as it came out the bottom, while she guided the dough into the top with one little hand and cranked the roller with the other, she gave me a LOOK and snapped "I can DO it!" in a tone that also distinctly said "So BACK OFF, Mommy!"
I said fine and let her go to it.
Once I had enough sheets for the lasagne, I started throwing together a sauce. I used a 28 oz can of whole plum tomatoes, some onion cut up, some garlic, about half a cup of red wine (what was left in the bottle), some water, and a can of fava beans. I cooked the whole thing, added some salt and pepper, and used my immersion blender to liquify it all – mainly so the kids wouldn't be poking around looking for vegetables to avoid. The beans added some thickness, too.
I heated a big pot of water while the sauce simmered, and started cooking the lasagne noodles in batches of 5 or 6 noodles at a time. Because the pasta was fresh, they cooked very quickly – a couple of minutes and they were done.
I laid the cooked noodles out on dish towels on top of my cooling racks while I cooked the rest of them, and once all the noodles were cooked I assembled my lasagne.
The unmatched noodle shapes gave each layer a crazy quilt sort of look, but since each layer of noodles was covered with a layer of sauce and a layer of ricotta, it really didn't matter. Actually, it didn't matter anyway. Who cares? This is home cooking, not a Food Network competition.
I also had seven noodles left over, once I'd built four or five layers of lasagne in the pan, so I rolled the remaining ricotta up in the noodles and covered that with the rest of the sauce. Not manicotti, really. I don't know what to call it, other than "for the freezer."
I baked both pans uncovered in a hot oven – 400 degrees F. Since everything was already cooked, I just wanted to heat them through quickly.
And that was dinner that night. And lunch the next day.