I laughed when I read this month’s Daring Baker’s challenge. See, I’d just put a lasagne in the oven and come upstairs, wondering what over-the-top dessert offerings I’d be making this month. In fact, I’d already blithely offered to do the dessert for a dinner party that week. And when I finally got into the newly made-over Daring Bakers website, I discovered: no crazy pudding month! The challenge was… lasagne.
Bit weird for what’s usually a cakefest, but hey, a good excuse to haul out my pasta roller (which, happily, didn’t get given away between my moves to the UK and back again – woo hoo!!)
The March 2009 challenge is hosted by Mary of Beans and Caviar, Melinda of Melbourne Larder and Enza of Io Da Grande. They have chosen Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna from The Splendid Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper as the challenge. But the crux of the challenge was making your own pasta. So I have to admit that – as a regular lasagne-maker – I didn’t use the challenge recipe AT ALL.
For the pasta, I used Nadine Abensur’s recipe from the Cranks Bible (you can see the corner of it sticking into the photo of my pasta dough, above). For the pasta, use 500 g flour and 5 eggs. Mix it up, knead it til it’s smooth, and then let it rest in the fridge for half an hour or overnight. I rolled it all out into sheets on setting 5 on the roller (ie not too thin), and it made enough that I could freeze half for the next one.
For the meat sauce, I used my mom’s wonderful Bolognese sauce. Am I allowed to admit that I actually got her to make it for me? It’s so simple, I think I might get kicked out of the Daring Bakers. But soooo delicious. You brown an onion and some garlic, then throw in some lean beef mince. Once it’s all browned, you add some tinned tomato puree, chopped tomatoes, tomato paste if it still needs more tomato-ing and seasonings – tomato sauce, Worcestorshire sauce, salt, pepper, mixed herbs. Let it all simmer away for maybe an hour.
And instead of a proper Bechamel, I used a white sauce, but with full cream milk and an extra dash of cream. A whole lot of strong grated cheese.
Kolya and I have been having tiny, rich servings for lunch all week. So. Definitely the homeliest DB challenge to date. (And I ended up making a plum clafoutis for that dinner party, which was utterly delicious too, and made great breakfast the next morning!)