Healthy &Homemade: WholeWheat Meat Lasagna
Ok guys, so last week I got a pasta machine. I took a class a couple years ago where i learned how to make fresh pasta, and its actually very easy. After looking up a simple wholewheat pasta dough recipe, I got really into making pasta for a week. Every night was something new. I made fettucini, spaghetti, and Chorizo and ricotta stuffed wholewheat ravioli. but the Pièce de résistance definitely has to be my wholewheat meat lasagna. its incredibly simply, and the time put into it to make the lasagna pasta from scratch comes out 10fold in the finished dish. So now without further ado, lets get to it.
i just want to say that we will be making more pasta dough than we need for this recipe, and thats alright because you can wrap the extra dough in plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge for a week, or toss it in the freezer and keep it for 6 months.
What you’ll need for the pasta:
- 11/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup white flour
What you’ll need for the sauce:
- 2 cans crushed roma tomatoes
- 1/4 cup diced yellow onion
- Marshalls Creek spices basil, oregano, salt, pepper, and garlic powder
- granulated sugar
- marshalls creek spices dried vegetable flakes [ our vegetable flakes have onions, carrots, chives, parsley and celery]
- one immersion blender [ if you dont have an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender, or a food processor]
What you’ll need for the meat:
- 1 lbs. of chop meat
- marshalls creek Fantastic 4 seasoning, and a dash of Marshalls creek spices sweet paprika
The rest of the ingredients:
- Ricotta Cheese
- Shredded Mozzarella
- grated parmesan or pecorino romano
And now lets start cooking:
making the pasta
1. now the first step is to mix and knead your dough. it can be confusing if its the first time youre doing it, but heres a link to a very helpful, simple to understand website with easy step-by-step instructions. The lady on this website uses a different recipe, but the steps are the same. http://naturallyella.com/2010/04/26/homemade-whole-wheat-pasta/. That website shows how to make fettucini, but if you stop after step 8, where she explains how to roll the pasta dough into flat thin pieces and dont run it through the fettucini attachment, youre set to go.
2. After rolling the dough through the pasta machine, cut the dough into equal rectangular pieces by sprinkling flour on top of each strip of pasta dough and laying them on top of each other, so that you can cut the edges of the different strips of dough as one and get a uniform shape. The reason for sprinkling the flour in between each slice is so that the strips of dough dont stick to each other and become impossible to separate afterwords.
3. homemade pasta dough only takes a couple of minutes to cook in boiling water. So toss your pasta into a pot of boiling water for three to four minutes and then drain and let the pasta cool off.
Making the sauce
1. Take your pot and put it on a medium heat with a tablespoon of olive oil. Once its hot, throw your diced onions in there and get them to a nice golden brown.
2. As soon as the onions are done, slide your pot off the heat and pour the two cans of crushed tomatoes in. We take it off the heat so that the crushed tomatoes arent being poured onto a searing hot surface. If we dont take it off the heat first the crushed tomatoes will pop when they come in contact with the pot and cause a mess all over your counter.
3. Slide the pot back on to the heat, add 1 1/2 to 2 of vegetable flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon each of the garlic powder, oregano, sugar and basil.
4. add 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and pepper.
5. Let the sauce simmer and add sugar, salt, oregano or garlic powder as preferred throughout the tasting process.
6. Once the sauce has simmered for at least half an hour, get out your immersion blender and take the pot off the heat. The immersion blender does exactly what its name implies. It blends the onions, vegetable flakes, and seasonings into a nice homogenous mixture where all the flavors are equally distributed. You want to keep blending until the majority of the vegetable flakes have been broken down and the color of the sauce changes from a deep red to a light red. making sure to blend and break apart the vegetable flakes is crucial in getting the best flavor out of this sauce.
Making the meat
1. throw your chop meat, a sprinkle of fantastic 4, and a dash of sweet paprika into a pan. take two or three spoonfuls of your sauce and toss it into the pan as well. Allow the chopmeat to cook almost completely through, and then remove the pan from the heat.
2. Drain any excess liquids that have come out of the chopmeat during cooking by using a colander.
3. Allow your chopmeat to cool down for at least ten before putting the lasagna together.
Putting everything together
1. I actually found in my cupboard, the perfect size glass container to use for putting together single portions of lasagna. however, you can use any 9 x 13 dish, 7×14, etcetera etcetera. Basically whatever dish you have on hand.
2. so the first step is to line the bottom of your dish with tomato sauce. a very thin layer, this is just to keep the bottom layer of pasta moist and to keep it from sticking to the dish for easy removal.
3. Once you have the tomato sauce down, shingle the pasta to completely cover the bottom of the dish, keeping a 1/8 inch overlap between pieces of pasta.
4. the next step is to scoop out dollops of ricotta cheese on top of the pasta. Followed by the chop meat, a layer of tomato sauce, and then the mozzarella and the parmesan or pecorino romano. top it off with another thin layer of tomato sauce, and repeat steps 3 and 4 until you’ve built up enough layers of lasagna to be satisfied. I usually like three or four layers for my lasagna. once your satisfied, add the last layer of pasta but dont put any cheese or meat on top of it, as this layer is the top of the lasagna and the only thing you put on is tomato sauce and cheese
5. Once you’ve assembled the lasagna, you can cover it with a thin layer of tomato sauce, wrap it in plastic wrap, and keep it in the fridge until your’e ready to use it. The reason we cover it with tomato sauce is so that the top layer of pasta doesnt dry out before you’re ready to cook it.
6. Once you are ready to cook it, just make sure you have enough tomato sauce on top, and then throw on as much mozzarella cheese as you’d like, sprinkle some parmesan, and throw that entire bad boy in the oven at 425 * until the cheese on top gets that nice browning in some spots. if when you take it out, the cheese is done, but its still cold in the center, that means that you had it too close to the heating coils, and the outside was finished before the inside was heated up.
another way to cook the lasagna is to cut it into pieces in the dish and use a soft spatula to take each piece out and cook them on an oven pan. having each piece separated in the oven gives more surface area and allows the center of each piece to get hot quicker.
7. Take the lasagna out of the oven, plate it, sprinkle some fresh diced basil on top and enjoy!