Saturday, October 2, 2010

Lasagna : Layers of fun

Thinking of Italy ~ wonderful people~ delicious food
     The first time I had lasagna I was six years old. We were on a trip to visit family in Texas and my aunt prepared a big tray of lasagna for a family meal. If you are wondering if it was good or if I enjoyed it; suffice it to say that here I am writing about it forty-four years later. It made quite an impression on me.  

     I’ve eaten and made lasagna many times over the years but today is a first for me. I’m making the pasta for the dish from scratch. We are having friends over for dinner tonight but since our house is full of packing boxes we are having them over at their own house. We will bring the dinner over and they will set the table. If you haven’t guessed yet I’m making homemade lasagna.   

Step one
I prepared a basic pasta dough
2 eggs $.50
2 cups flour  $.40
3 TBS water
1 tsp salt
I mixed it in the food processor today
wrapped it in plastic and set aside for an hour.
After it rested I put it through the pasta maker to make the sheets to fit my pan. It took me two strips for each layer.
I used to roll the dough by hand until recently.
 Step two
Made a meat sauce
½ lb. Ground beef $2.00
Garlic $.35
For spices (I like a bit of this and that)
Italian herbs
Red pepper flake
Garlic powder
Onion powder
 Salt pepper
28 oz can organic peeled crushed tomatoes $2.00
Simmer as you would your favorite meat sauce till done

Step three
Béchamel sauce
1 tbs butter (melt in saucepan $.35
2 tbs flour
(add slowly to the melted butter and whish so no lumps for)
Basically like a roux
Cook for a minute or to –it will get the flour taste to cook out
Add 1-cup milk slowly and keep whisking till bubbly and thick $.75
A creamy smooth soft delicious creation
Add a pinch of nutmeg salt and white pepper.

Step four
Grate about a cup of Parmesan  $1.25
for inter layer sprinkledge~ set aside

Then the fun begins!!
Put a layer of the béchamel on the bottom of the 9X9 pan
Top (to cover) with cooked pasta sheets 
Layer of meat sauce
Top with béchamel
(I have leftover ricotta, which I inserted as well (optional)
Sprinkle of Parmesan
Layer of cooked pasta sheets 
  leftover pasta sheet prior to cooking
 Repeat above layering process
Top with final layer of cooked pasta sheets and sprinkle Parmesan liberally over the top
carefully layered and ready to pop in the oven
 Cook at 350 degrees for about ½ hour and the cheese on top has slightly browned and bubbled
Total under $7.00

TIP OF THE DAY: If you make a big batch of something good, call an friend and share the feast. Most people would be thrilled to be able to share a great meal with friends in the comfort of their own home especially if they don’t have to spend half their day cooking it. This could really be a blessing to someone who has been working a lot of overtime or hasn’t been feeling well. Sometimes it’s just a nice feeling to be home and free of all the preparation stress that can accompany a get together.

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