A Green Noodle Sunday

Sunday, February 28, 2010

A long, long time ago (you know, before I fell down the rabbit's hole of wedding planning) I was a member of the Daring Bakers. Each month there would be a new baking challenge that I would manage to get done by the deadline.

One month, the challenge was a spinach lasagna, featuring homemade spinach noodles. I skipped that month due to lack of time. And, quite honestly, I didn't have a pasta roller at the time so who knows what lumpy state my noodles would have been in. Now, almost a year later, I have redeemed myself and conquered the green noodle. Oh, and I lived to blog about it.

It all started out with 5 ounces of yummy organic baby spinach.

I wilted the spinach in my steamer/rice cooker and then put it in a colander to squish out all of the extra liquid.

I then finely chopped the wilted spinach.

Putting 2 cups of all-purpose flour on my trusty Crate & Barrel mat, I created a well in the flour and cracked 3 eggs into it. Using a fork, I lightly beat the eggs within the well. Can someone please explain to me why they have you do this? There ended up being egg running everywhere. If you want to retain your sanity, beat the eggs beforehand.

After the egg ran amuck all over my mat, I managed to gather it up with the flour, and then dropped the chopped spinach into the mess. Some hand cleaning, kneading, and a little extra flour resulted in this lovely little ball of noodle dough. I wrapped it up and let it rest for 30 or 45 minutes.

After the dough had rested, I took a piece of it and starting putting it through my KitchenAid pasta roller, starting with level 1 and moving up to 5. It takes a bit to get the hang of, and the more you work with the dough, the more the spinach gets worked in. The noodles on the front of the board were the first that I did, and could have been run through more. The two in the back are much better.

One noodle at a time went into a pot of boiling, salted water for about 1 minute, into an ice bath for a couple of minutes, and then laid out onto a clean towel.

When you start rolling out the noodles, it can get stressful. I tend to scream and yell. Fortunately, Steve is able to overlook my nervous energy and general frustrations and helps me out. He took over the noodles in the boiling and cooling department.

While my dough was resting I had started my lasagna sauce. The only lasagna I've ever made was my grandmother's recipe. I'm pretty sure it is the most basic of basic recipes, and I don't have any memories of her making this lasagna, but nevertheless it's the recipe I use and I'm sticking with it.

As you can tell, we like our organic meats from Whole Foods. For our lasagna we bought a pound of organic ground bison. Bison, if you didn't know is a very lean meat - leaner than red meat and even chicken.

After sauteing an onion and cooking the meat with garlic, salt and pepper, I added tomato sauce and tomato soup to the mix. Whole Foods 365 brand is great for these basics (organic and cheap!). We have been addicted to this creamy tomato basil soup.

After the sauce simmered for a half hour or so and the noodles were all cooked, we layed the noodles in a glass baking dish with the sauce and some part-skim mozzarella, topping it off with more mozzarella and freshly grated parmesan.

I popped it into a 350 degree oven, covered with foil, for 30 minutes, and then baked it uncovered for an additional 15 minutes until it was browned up and bubbling.

What else to serve on the side but spinach salad!

I am IN LOVE with these spinach noodles- only three ingredients and you get something so tasty. The lasagna held up wonderfully for dinner the next two nights and the noodles were just as tasty each night.

Thank you again to Steve for saving my butt in the kitchen. I'm pretty sure he just does it because he wants to eat as a semi-reasonable hour. But regardless, his help when I'm at my wit's end is very appreciated.

For the Spinach Pasta:
5 ounces fresh spinach
2 to 2-1/2 cups flour
3 eggs

Steam the spinach until just wilted. Cool a little and squeeze all the liquid out. Chop finely. Mound flour on work surface. Make a well in the center and break eggs into the well. Beat lightly with fork and add the spinach into the eggs (or pre-beat the eggs before adding if you don't want a mess on your hands. Litterally.). Mix with fork. Start incorporating the flour until all the flour is added. If still sticky, add more flour, little by little, until you have a dough that is not too dry and not too sticky. Knead by hand for 5 minutes. Wrap in well floured plastic wrap and set aside to rest at least for 30 minutes.

Cut a section of dough and put through pasta maker rollers on widest setting. Fold in thirds, dust with more flour, and put through rollers again. Do this a few times and then adjust rollers to next number. Put pasta through the rollers, adding flour if you need to so it doesn't stick. Adjust rollers to next number and run pasta through until you run the pasta through setting #5. Lay pasta out on well floured surface and cut to length of your pan.

Bring a large pot of well salted water to boil and prepare a large bowl filled with ice water. Cook the lasagna noodles, only 2 or 3 at a time for just a minute or so. Take out with a large spider or spoon and place the pasta in the ice bath for a couple of minutes. Remove the pasta and place on a clean towel. Repeat until all the pasta is cooked.

Grandma Susin's Lasagna

½ C Chopped White Onion
2 tsp Oil
1 lb Ground Beef (or Bison!)
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Parsley
16 Ounces Tomato Sauce
1 C Tomato Soup
6 Lasagna Noodles
Parmesan cheese
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Sauté chopped onion in oil. Remove from skillet. Brown ground beef and add garlic, salt, and pepper. Return onions to skillet and add oregano, parsley, tomato sauce, and tomato soup. Simmer for ½ hour. Cook and cool 6 lasagna noodles. Layer cooked noodles, sauce, and mozzarella cheese. Top with Parmesan cheese. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes covered with foil. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes.


Charlene said...

WOW, I am seriously impressed! Can you make me some spinach noodles, pretty please? :) They sound interesting!

Mrs. Hot Cocoa said...

Ok, I thought I was pretty fancypants when I take spinach noodles out of a box, but this is a whole new level of awesomeness.

Laura said...

I'd be happy to make spinach noodles for anyone...it's super fun and makes you feel very accomplished :)

Amy said...

Bison=heaven- Beefalo is prety good too. I am adding this to the must cook list. You rock :)

Alvina said...

hahah the picture of your husband's head over the noodles is entertaining :-P

M and C said...

This post has made me hungry. All that was avilable tonight from the lodge kitchen was a BLT that featured cheese and butter. I might have to steal this recipe!!

Me! said...

I remember making this and it was pretty awesome. We'll see if I do this month's recipe.

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