Hell yes, fresh pasta! If you want to make your pasta dish something really special, then you got to swap the dry stuff for something hand made, like this fresh lasagne.
Making the dough for fresh lasagne
Pasta making really is something easy to do and pasta machines nowadays are really affordable. They can be found starting at € 15 / $ 20. Once you got this set up, creating pasta from scratch is easy as a pie. All you need is semolina (that's like flour, but roughly ground), water, a pinch of salt and some oil. Mix everything together and knead until the dough stops sticking on your hands. Let it rest for some time and then you're ready to roll your fresh pasta.
How to work with a pasta machine
A pasta machine is built with two rolls, where one is fixed and the other one can be moved. Start by separating a piece of dough the size of a table tennis ball. Shape it into a flat disc and feed it into the pasta machine in its widest setting. Repeat at the same setting until the dough fills more or less the whole width of the machine.
Once you're happy, work on making the sheet of dough thinner by closing down the gap between the rolls bit by bit until you're happy with the result. The finished sheet can either be hanged over a wooden bar to dry, or you can toss it right away into boiling water.
Stacking the fresh lasagne bands
In this recipe we do not go the classic way, and we will not bake the lasagne. No cheese is needed neither to make a great lasagne dish. The combination of fresh pasta, a whole food sauce and quality ingredients make this no-bake lasagne stand out.
For the extra eye candy, I decided to boil the dough bands in whole instead of cutting smaller sheets first. Since one sheet is long enough for one plate, you can easily cook them one after another. After a short boiling time take out the lasagna and let it air dry and cool down a bit. Otherwise you will have a bad time stacking.
Start by spreading some sauce on the plate and place one end of the long pasta on the plate. Add some filling on top and fold over the long band to the other side of the plate. Add another layer and rinse and repeat.
Of course, you can swap the aubergine if you don't like it. This dish works perfectly well with mushrooms, other veggies like bell pepper, spinach or even a lentil Bolognese. The recipe for the dough works for other types of pasta as well. In the end the shape defines the type of pasta you are making. Try using it for tagliatelle, spaghetti, stuffed ravioli and more.
Enough story telling... here's the recipe!
Fresh Lasagne with Aubergine and Rucola
The Fresh Dough
- 350 g Semolina
- 140 ml Water Luke Warm
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Olive Oil
- 300 g Tomato
- 5 Sundried Tomato
- 1 Garlic Cloves
- 50 ml Olive Oil
- 50 ml Water
- 1 tsp Oregano Fresh
- 3 Basil Leafs
- 10 g Pine Seeds
- 1 Aubergine Eggplant
- 2 tsp Mediterranian Dried Herbs
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 50 g Rucola
- 1 pinch Parsley for decoration
- 1 Cherry Tomato for decoration
- 1 dash Balsamico Cream
Making the Pasta
- Mix the semolina and salt, then add the lukewarm water plus a teaspoon of olive oil. Knead well for around 5 minutes with the kneading hook of your hand mixer.Make sure no semolina sticks to the sides.Depending on the degree of fineness of the semolina it may be that you need to add a bit more water, up to 200ml in total. The finer the semolina, the less water is needed.After that continue kneading with your hands until the dough no longer sticks on your finger. If the dough gets very crumbly, add a dash of water.
- When the dough is not sticking any more, separate it in 3 equal pieces and wrap it in a moist towel or cling foil.Let it rest for 30 minutes.Meanwhile, you can take care of preparing the aubergine and later the sauce.
- Roll out the dough in one direction. It should be less than one cm thick.Set the pasta machine to the biggest size setting and feed the dough through.Fold the long ends towards the middle and press it to have clean edges. Feed into the machine again. Repeat until your sheet of dough has a proper rectangular shape.Put the sheet aside and do the same with the rest of your dough.
Baking the Aubergine
- Preheat the oven at 180 °C (350° F) and get parchment paper and a baking tray.
- Slice the aubergine. Each piece should be around half a centimetre thick.Combine the Mediterranean herbs with some olive oil. Brush the mix onto your aubergine slices.Let them bake for 15 minutes.
Cooking the Sauce
- Boil or steam the tomato(es) for 3 minutes or until you see that the skin breaks and peels off easily.Remove the remaining skin and the green bits.
- Give all ingredients into a blender and mix well.You're done!
Cooking the Pasta and Finishing the Plate
- Bring a pot of water to boil. Then add a dash of salt.Take a sheet of dough and start pressing it on a finer setting of your pasta machine.Repeat on thinner settings until you reach your desired thickness.Give the long pasta dough into the boiling water and boil for around 2 minutes. The fresh dough starts to float when ready. Boil one plate at a time
- Take out the dough and lay it out flat on a kitchen towel to let dry and cool down a bit.Scoop some sauce on the plate and spread a round bed for the pasta.Place one end of the pasta on the plate, then add some aubergine.Fold the pasta over to the other side, add sauce and/or rucola.Fold back and repeat until your pasta is completely stacked.
- Give some more sauce on top of it and sprinkle some balsamic vinegar cream over.Decorate with rucola, parsley and cherry tomatoes