Mamma Mia! Fresh Italian Lasagne!

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READY IN: 2hrs 15mins
Recipe by The Spice Guru

My recipe for vegetarian lasagne.

Ingredients Nutrition

Directions

  1. PREP vegetables and herbs needed for the SAUTE FOR FRESH ITALIAN SAUCE (1 medium chopped onion, 8 ounces thinly sliced fresh mushrooms, 2/3 cup minced fresh basil leaves (reserving 1 tablespoon to refresh flavor later), 2-3 tablespoons minced fresh garlic, 3 tablespoons minced fresh Italian parsley, 2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano leaves, and 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves); SAUTE in a large saucepan or pot in 1 tablespoon olive oil, between medium-low and medium heat until softened, about 7 minutes.
  2. BRING 4 quarts unsalted water to boiling; CAREFULLY lower Roma tomatoes needed for recipe on a large spoon into boiling water; BLANCH until skins start to crack; REMOVE tomatoes and place into a colander; RINSE tomatoes under running cold water to remove skins; PUREE enough tomatoes to yield 3 1/4 cups; DICE remaining tomatoes to yield 3 1/4 cups; ADD both pureed and diced tomatoes to the saute mixture, along with 1/4 cup olive oil, 2-3 teaspoons ground fennel, 1/4 cup dry red wine, 2 teaspoons fine sea salt (if using fresh tomatoes), 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest, 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes; STIR in enough sugar or light corn syrup into SAUCE to balance acidity; RAISE HEAT to HIGH, stirring constantly until mixture begins to boil; REDUCE heat to MEDIUM-LOW, then SIMMER the sauce uncovered for 1 hour or slightly longer, stirring occasionally; REMOVE the SAUCE from heat; STIR in 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese and 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh basil leaves (to refresh flavor); SEASON to taste with fine sea salt if necessary.
  3. IF PREPARING FRESH LASAGNE PASTA: While sauce is simmering: BEAT 3 eggs with 1 tablespoon olive oil gently in a medium bowl using a fork; into the large bowl of food processor MEASURE 1 cup semolina flour, 1/2 cup all-purpose flour and 3/8 teaspoon fine sea salt; PROCESS in food processor at least 30 seconds; with processor still running, very slowly POUR beaten eggs into feeder tube until all of the beaten eggs have been added; continue to PROCESS until dough becomes very thick and consistently blended (or when it forms a ball); REMOVE ball of dough from processor; WRAP dough tightly with plastic wrap; LET dough to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. PLACE dough on a smooth clean surface dusted with semolina flour; ROLL out dough to 1/4 inch thick, SPRINKLE with semolina flour and repeat process until dough has a smooth, soft texture and with a balanced moisture level (not overly moist or dry); ROLL dough using a pasta machine (recommended), or a rolling pin to a 1/8 inch thickness, dusting very lightly with semolina flour if necessary, to prevent sticking; cut noodle dough into 2-3 inch width strips, with a 12" length; pasta does not need to be boiled first.
  4. IF USING PACKAGED LASAGNE PASTA: MEASURE exactly 4 quarts of water (16 cups) into a large pot of water; BRING water to a full rolling boil; ADD 4 teasppoons kosher salt, then quickly but carefully add 9-12 pasta strips; COOK pasta until just tender (al dente), about 7 to 8 minutes; DRAIN lasagne noodles immediately in a large colander; REMOVE pasta individually using tongs and HANG pasta in (and over), the edges of the large pot and the colander to STRAIGHTEN, so that none of the noodles are touching; ALLOW to cool slightly.
  5. PREPARE the PASTA BASTE by mixing 2 tablespoons olive oil with 1-2 cloves freshly pressed garlic (using a garlic press or mincing finely); BASTE lasagne noodles evenly on both sides in a 13 x 9 baking dish; REMOVE noodles and place aside.
  6. WHIP the following ingredients of the FRESH SPINACH AND CHEESE FILLING in a large bowl, using an electric mixer: 3 cups whole milk ricotta cheese (Precious brand), 1 large egg, 2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup cream, 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest, 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper, and 1 small clove fresh mashed garlic (use a garlic press); FOLD in 1 cup finely chopped fresh spinach leaves and 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil leaves (stems removed), until mixture is thoroughly blended.
  7. LADLE a thin layer of the FRESH ITALIAN SAUCE into the bottom of a deep-dish lasagne pan (or minimize recipe into a 13 x 9 baking dish; SPRINKLE 1 tablespoon of the freshly grated parmesan cheese over the sauce; ARRANGE a row of FRESH LASAGNE PASTA lengthwise over the cheese-sprinkled sauce (depending on pasta size, you may trim pasta with kitchen scissors to fit into baking dish if necessary); SPREAD 1/2 (HALF) of the FRESH SPINACH AND CHEESE FILLING over the pasta, leaving a 3/4 inch space around edges; SPRINKLE 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese over the filling; LADLE 1/3 of the SAUCE over the mozzarella, followed with 1 tablespoon freshly grated parmesan cheese.
  8. REPEAT layers in this order: (1) PASTA (2) the remaining FILLING (3) MOZZARELLA cheese (4) SAUCE (5) PARMESAN (6) remaining PASTA (7) remaining SAUCE (8) remaining MOZZARELLA; COVER with aluminum foil or casserole lid.
  9. BAKE covered in preheated 350 F degree oven for 30 minutes, then carefully slide out oven tray from oven using oven mitts; REMOVE the cover from dish carefully; then SPRINKLE the GARNISH (1 tablespoon freshly grated parmesan cheese, 2 teaspoons seasoned Italian breadcrumbs and 1 teaspoon finely minced fresh Italian parsley); LEAVE lasagne uncovered; CONTINUE to BAKE lasagne for 15 additional minutes; REMOVE from oven and allow to cool and set for 10 minutes; SLICE (using a serrated knife) and SERVE.
  10. SERVE and say, "MAMMA MIA!"!

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