I previously made a big tray of lasagna during the weekend and would bring it to work during the weekday. It started off with meat lasagna and then I found it more convenient to do a veggie lasagna.
Freshly made lasagna sheets taste better than the dried ones. I was amazed at the difference in taste and texture when I tasted my colleague’s homemade lasagna. Since then, I make my own lasagna sheet from scratch.
A few days ago, I was craving for some white cheesy lasagna and decided to try making a basic spinach and mushroom lasagna. Keeping in mind of the food budget, I used mozzarella cheese instead of the addition parmigiano reggiano cheese, oyster mushroom instead of fresh button mushroom and amaranth leaves instead of spinach.
300g all purpose flour
Pinch of salt
b) White Sauce
60g all purpose flour
2 bay leaves
Salt to taste
c) Other filling
500g Spinach Leaves
2 cloves garlic & 2 shallot bulb
250g Shredded Mozzarella cheese
It makes 5 thin layer of 9 inch by 11 inch lasagna.
Mix egg, flour and salt and knead it for 5-10 minutes. Add additional flour if the dough is too wet. Dust flour on the countertop surface when kneading to prevent dough sticking. Cover it with a cloth and let it rest for 20 minutes.
Roughly divide it into 3 portions and dust it with flour. Use a rolling pin or a pasta machine to roll it into rectangles. If using a pasta machine, start with no 7 (thickest dough setting) for a few rounds and then reduce it to no 3 (thinner dough setting). Use flour to dust it constantly to prevent it sticking to the countertop. A dough scrapper will be useful too.
I used a rolling pin to roll it as the width of the pasta is shorter than the lasagna pan. Use a table knife or a dough scrapper to cut the dough to fit the size of the lasagna baking tray.
b) White Sauce
I had my fair share of lumpy white sauce. The trick is to use exact measurement for the flour to butter ratio 1:1 and to mix the milk in in portions while stirring. If all fails, use a blender to blend the lumps or sieve it after cooking the white sauce.
I used room temperature full cream milk carton.
Form roux (paste) in a pot by heating butter and add flour when butter melted. Add milk slowly (small portions) and stir continuously. When milk is added, add cloves, bay leaves. Cook it until thickens. Add salt to taste.
Remove cloves and bay leaves in the white sauce. Most recipe calls for heating the milk with cloves and bay leaves first before making the roux to infuse flavours. I just cooked it together for convenience.
c) Other fillings
Remove leaves from stem, soak and wash it. Cook it in boiling water until soft. Then soak it in cool tap water to avoid overcooking. Put it in a sieve and squeeze excess water. Cut it into smaller pieces.
ii) Oyster Mushroom
Wash mushroom and squeeze excess water. Stir fry it with chopped garlics and shallots. Add salt to taste.
Shred block cheese.
Preheat oven to 170C convection.
Now its the fun part. Layering it. Add some liquid to the base before adding the pasta sheet to prevent sticking to the base after cooking. I used some white sauce and liquid from the cooked mushroom.
- Base: White sauce
- Middle: (Pasta Sheet → White Sauce → Cheese → Spinach/ Mushroom) X no of layers
- Topping: Pasta Sheet → White Sauce → Cheese
I made 4 layers in the middle.
Bake it for 40 minutes covered with aluminium foil (convection setting) and 10 minutes uncovered (convection and broil setting).
Rest it for 15 minutes
It satisfied my cravings. As for the leftovers, I froze half and refrigerated half. If my food budget allows it next time, I might add in parmigiano reggiano cheese or increase Mozzarella cheese.