Friday, June 12, 2009

Fresh Pasta Extravaganza - Spinach Lasagna & Cheese Ravioli

I had the day off today and it turned out to be pretty bleak, so I spent the afternoon in the kitchen whipping up some fresh pasta dishes. First on the menu was a spinach lasagna, using the fresh organic spinach from our farm share this week.

It all starts with a basic egg pasta. I use the recipe that came with my pasta machine:

2 1/2 cups flour
3 eggs

Put the flour in a bowl, making a well in the middle.

Add the eggs to the well and scramble them up a bit with a fork. Then starting pulling flour into the eggs with your fork until its fully combined (add a little water if it's dry, a little flour if it's wet).

Pour the dough out onto a floured board and knead for about 10 minutes until the dough is elastic and consistent in color and texture. Cover with a wet towel and let rest 15 minutes.

After resting, the dough is ready to roll out. I used my pasta maker, but you can also roll it by hand with a rolling pin. The goal is to get nice thin, long sheets of pasta:

To make the lasagna, just cut the fresh sheets of pasta to the size of your pan and use them as you would boxed noodles (no need to cook the pasta first - it will cook when baked).

I don't really use hard and fast measurements for my lasagna, so the amounts in the recipe below are approximates. Lasagna is very forgiving, so you can change things up to your taste - or to what you have on hand.

Spinach Lasagna

6 5" x 11" sheets of fresh pasta
6 c. spinach, chopped
1 Tbsp. butter
salt & pepper
1 c. fat free ricotta cheese
1/3 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 c. mozzarella, shredded
4-5 cups of your favorite red sauce (I used a meat sauce made with ground turkey)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add spinach, sprinkle with salt and pepper and saute until wilted. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine ricotta, parmesan and egg.
Coat the bottom of a 9" x 11" casserole dish with a small amount of sauce. Place 2 sheets of pasta on top of the sauce, fully covering the bottom of the dish.
Spread 1/2 of the ricotta mixture over the pasta. Sprinkle 1/3 c. mozzarella over ricotta. Top with 1/2 of the spinach. Spoon about 1/3 of the red sauce on top of that.
Repeat with another layer of pasta, ricotta, mozzarella, spinach and sauce.
Top with remaining sheets of pasta. Pour remaining sauce over pasta and sprinkle remaining mozzarella on the top.
Bake for 45-50 minutes at 350 until sauce is bubbly and cheese is starting to brown.

The pasta recipe I gave above makes more than 6 lasagna-sized sheets of pasta, so I used the extra sheets to make some cheese ravioli.

The filling was just a mixture leftover ricotta and parmesan. I popped them in the freezer for another night - can't wait to try them!


LK- Healthy Delicious said...

those pasta sheets are gorgeous!!! Love that you used spinach in the filling - my husband has hard and fast rules on what "lasagna" can have, and he always gets mad when I try to add veggies. I have to call it "Lauren's pasta bake" in order for him to even think about taking a bite. *sigh*

The Duo Dishes said...

Need a pasta roller for sure. When we first had homemade pasta, we were convinced that was the only way it should be eaten. Just haven't gotten around to do it yet. :)

Lovely dish!

ValleyWriter said...

LK - I wasn't sure if my husband was going to go for this, but he actually liked it! Yay!

Duo - The pasta machine is definitely worth the investment. The one we have was about $30 and takes up very little space in the cabinet - perfect!

Teresa Cordero Cordell said...

Well hello Ms Valley Writer. What a tasty and healthy (spinach) dish. I love all kinds of pasta, especially the homemade kind. Smart idea to use left overs for ravioli. :)