Sunday, January 31, 2010

Fresh Pasta and Two Meals in One!

Arugula Lasagna
When I first tasted this lasagna recipe, I realized that the heavy, meaty, cheesy lasagna I grew up with (and still enjoy) was not the only lasagna on the block! This is a delicate, melt in your mouth concoction, partly because of the thin homemade pasta, and partly because of the fresh flavor of the filling. This is my best interpretation of Lasagne alla Rucola I ate in Gaiole in Chianti with Tutti a Tavola, a group of 'Mamas' who invite you into their homes, and share their cooking skills. It was all a wonderful experience. The second best part of the recipe is what you can do with the remaining cooked pasta. Dried of excess moisture on dish towels, and rolled, you can store it in a zip lock bag in the frig for several days. We made Kale & Pancetta Fettucini, and it was fantastic, but you use your imagination!

2 cups ‘00’ Flour, or unbleached all purpose flour
3 eggs
2 tsp. EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
Use well method to make pasta..or...

Add flour to food processor. Beat eggs and olive oil, and add to flour with processor running. When ball forms, stop and remove. Add little more flour to dough to keep it from being so sticky.
Knead dough about 8 minutes: push forward using heel of palm, keeping fingers bent. Fold in half,give a half turn, press hard against dough with heel of palm, and repeat. Continue to turn in same direction. Dough will finally become very smooth, and is ready to thin.
Divide into 10 pieces, wrap in Saran Wrap.
Now roll each piece through the machine beginning with several passes through #1, then increasing the number each time until the pasta becomes as thin as you want it. Flour counter well, and lay pasta strips down, flour top of strips and cover with saran wrap to keep pasta from drying out too much and sticking together while waiting to cook.
Boil strips, about 3 at a time, for 2 minutes in salted water. Remove with spider spatula and cool in ice water.
This is an interesting step: after cooling, rinse each piece under running water, and then squeeze piece out, a little like squeezing out a dish cloth, except a little gentler. This rinsing and the squeezing removes extra starch, and water. The cooked pasta, even though very thin, is stronger than you think it will be!
Now, lay the strips on dish towels, and continue until all strips are cooked. I add towels over top and stack, which dries both bottom and top of pasta.
  • 1 pound fresh pasta, cooked, or lasagna noodles, prepared as directed on package
  • 1/2 cup gorgonzola cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk, divided, plus extra if needed after cooking
  • 2/3 cups ricotta
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cup grated fresh Pecorino, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 12 ounces Arugula
  • 2 tablespoons butter, plus more for buttering casserole dish
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
2 shallots thinly sliced and sauteed in butter
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Prepare 13 inch x 9 inch casserole dish with butter.
Mix together gorgonzola and 1/4 cup milk. Add ricotta, heavy cream, 1/2 cup Pecorino, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
(Look how thin the pasta is! You can see right through it to the cheese and arugula layer below!)
Chop the arugula thinly. Reserve ~12 leaves for garnish.
Saute arugula in 2 T butter just until wilted. Add minced garlic and saute for about one minute. Add arugula mixture to cheese mixture.
Add 1/4 cups milk to buttered casserole dish. Cover bottom of casserole with 3 homemade or prepared lasagna noodles. Top with a quarter of the cheese and arugula mixture.
Continue layering, ending with cheese and arugula mixture.
Top with remaining 1 cup Pecorino, pine nuts, arugula leaved and sauteed shallots
Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and cook for an additional 15 minutes. When you remove foil, if corners look dry, add a little milk to each corner.
Let lasagna rest for about 10 minutes before slicing.
Pancetta & Kale Fettucini

This is the leftover pasta, dried from excess moisture and rolled. You can keep this is the frig for several days.
Sauce Ingredients: chopped kale, pancetta, onions, garlic, EVOO, a little cream, grated pecorino cheese, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
Cut your pasta rolls into strips, and have them ready to add to your sauce.
Add a little olive oil to bottom of pan over medium heat. Add chopped pancetta, and cook until pancetta is browned. Add chopped onions and cook until onions become translucent. Add garlic and cook another minute or two, and then add chopped kale and red pepper flakes to taste tossing until kale is wilted. Also add salt and pepper to taste. Finally add a little cream and shredded pecorino, stirring to combine, and melt cheese. Add pasta, toss to combine and ENJOY!!


  1. That's just beautiful! I think I'm gonna try sometime soon. Great post.

  2. It really is easy. And certainly delicious!!
    Thank you!

  3. Annelle, I'm so hungry looking at this gorgeous pasta, great blog you have here!

  4. Thank you! I certainly love your blog, and look forward to each new post!