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.
I was so excited that my very first Daring Bakers’ Challenge was something savory: I joined the Daring Bakers because I really do want to challenge myself, but if you take a look at some of the monstrous cakes the Bakers have made in the past, you’ll understand why I was a little bit nervous.
The lasagna was no easy task either: we had to make a ragu, homemade spinach pasta and homemade béchamel.
In the end, I found that all of the tasks were fairly simple. Yes, the ragu has to cook for hours before it’s ready to eat, and yes, the pasta requires a lot of rolling. But I paced myself and made the ragu separately a few days in advance. I had already made béchamel several times for other recipes, so it was quite simple as well.
That just left the pasta recipe, but in the end, I just asked myself why I didn’t make homemade pasta more often.
Especially now that it’s all gone.
I love the flecks of spinach in the homemade pasta!
I made half of the pasta recipe provided but I made all of the ragu and béchamel. I ended up making much thicker layers than were called for in the recipe: I used three layers of pasta and I used up all of the béchamel. Some ragú was left, so I tossed it with the leftover pasta.
They ate all of it.
Alex swooned and started telling people on the phone that I made homemade lasagna “à la main,” and then my friend Matt came over and finished it off.
As for me? I loved it. It’s definitely in the top two lasagne I’ve ever had in my life, and the fact that there were no artificial flavorings and everything was made by hand makes it shoot up to number one in my book.
I’ll definitely be making it again… but this time I’m making a bigger batch.
The recipe is available here.
Please, don’t be scared off by fresh pasta like I was: try this recipe. Your loved ones will thank you for it… with their mouths full.