May 11, 2013

Vegetable Lasagna Recipe With Homemade Lasagna Sheets (Without Pasta Machine)

Lasagna made with homemade lasagna sheets and vegetables
All these years, I thought pasta could be made at home only when you have a pasta maker at home but all that changed when I decided to make Lasagna sheets at home by hand as I do not have a pasta maker. If someone had told me that I would be making pasta from scratch a month ago let alone enjoy making it, I would have laughed at them, because seriously I had never even given it a thought. Why would someone wanna do it from scratch when it is available in shops? But I decided to make it just for the experience and joy of making something from scratch and now my mind is abuzz with multiple possibilities. It never occurred to me that they are so darn easy to make, after all making pasta takes just 3 ingredients.

We, the Avant Garde Cookies decided to give pasta making from scratch for the first week of this month and I decided to go with something very simple that did not involve any extra work. Moreover I had never eaten a Lasagna before, so I never had an idea how it would taste. We very rarely eat out and while doing so its always Chinese. So, I invited my friend Jenny to sample, as she had traveled widely and more knowledgeable in World Cuisines. She gave one big Thumbs upafter eating her share.

Vegetarian Lasagna
I made 2 versions of the same. One with the eggs and the other one without eggs and less cheese for Adults at home. Needless to say the one with the eggs won hands down and tasted more authentic according to her. And I used basil leaves that I harvested from my own patio garden which made this dish much more special to me.

I had a doubt whether I had to boil the lasagna sheets in water or not but decided not to boil them as anyway I was going to bake them in the oven after assembling them and if a Pizza is done, the lasagna which in my opinion is more like a thin crust layered pizza must be cooked by the end and I was indeed right.

It may seem long, tedious and a lot of work when you read the recipe but with some time management you can have your lasagna inside the oven in just an hour. The dough takes just 5 mins of time as it comes together quickly. You do not even have to take out your hand mixer. While the dough is resting, prep the vegetables and cheese. While the vegetables are simmering, roll out the sheets and have it ready to be layered and baked.

Spicy Lasagna with handmade lasagna sheets

Vegetable Lasagna Recipe with Homemade Lasagna Sheets

Prep time: 15 mins  |  Cook time: 30 mins  |  Bake time: 30 mins  | Serves: 2
Cuisine: Italian  |  Category: Main

Ingredients:

For Lasagna Sheets:
  • All Purpose flour – 1 cup
  • Eggs – 2
  • Salt – 1/8 tsp
  • Oil – 2 to 3 tsp (optional)

For Vegetable Layer:
  • Onion – 1
  • Capsicum/ bell peppers, medium – 1
  • Mushrooms – 100 gms
  • Broccoli florets – 1/2 cup
  • Garlic – 4 pods
  • Tomatoes, medium – 6
  • Basil leaves, chopped – 1/4 cup
  • Red chili flakes – 1/2 tsp
  • Italian seasoning / Mixed Herbs – 1 tsp
  • Mozzarella cheese, grated / sliced – 1 cup (200 gms)
  • Black pepper powder / Ground pepper – 1/2 tsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Olive oil – 2 tbsp
  • Tomato Sauce / pasta sauce – 3 tbsp

Instructions:

  1. In a mixing bowl, mix together flour and salt.
  2. In another small bowl, break the eggs and beat them well. Pour the beaten eggs and with the help of a fork, work it into the flour.
  3. Mix together to form a soft dough. If you feel that the eggs are not enough to form the dough, add 2-3 tsp of oil to make them come together. Do not knead too hard.
  4. Close the bowl with a lid and rest for at least 1/2 hour.
  5. After 1 hours, divide the dough into 4-5 ping pong sized balls.
  6. Use flour to dust a work surface and roll out the balls into thin sheets as much as you can manage. The thinner the better. The dough will not break or tear, so it will be easy to manage.
  7. If you want you can cut them using a pizza cutter or a sharp knife into strips of rectangle or square as you get in the shops.
  8. DSCN6279
  9. Arrange the rolled out sheets on a big plate one next to the other till you complete rolling out all the balls and keep the plate covered with a cloth or plate at all times to prevent the sheets from drying out.

  10. For the Vegetable Layer:
  11. Chop the onion, garlic finely. Dice the bell peppers. Slice and chop the mushrooms finely. Chop the broccoli florets and keep aside.
  12. Cut the tomatoes into two and grate them or quarter them and pulse in a mixie or food processor till they are mashed into big chunks. Do not over process and make them into a puree.
  13. Heat a pan with oil. Add garlic and once you get the flavor, add in onions and sauté till translucent.
  14. Now add in the mushrooms, bell peppers, broccoli and mix well. Cook for 2 minutes over low flame or till the vegetables wilt and soften.
  15. Now add the grated or processed tomatoes. Add salt, chili flakes, ground pepper and mix well. Let this cook over low flame for 20-30 minutes till they become almost dry. By now the raw smell of the tomatoes would have gone.
  16. Just before taking off fire, add in chopped basil leaves, Italian seasoning and mix well. In fact do this 5 minutes before you take off fire. Keep aside for the mixture to cool off.

  17. To make Lasagna:
  18. Grease either a round or square baking tray with olive oil. I used a round oven proof glass tray.
  19. Drop the tomato / pasta sauce and spread all around the bottom of the tray.

  20. Place a thinly rolled out lasagna sheet. Now place 4-5 tbsp of the vegetable filling and with a spoon spread it all over the sheet covering it completely.
  21. Now place another sheet to cover the vegetable layer. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese generously all over, covering the sheet completely.
  22. Now place another sheet on top of the grated cheese layer and spread the vegetable filling.
  23. Like wise keep on with the layers and end with the sheet over which cheese has been spread out.
  24. Preheat oven @ 180 C (350 F) and bake for 20-25 minutes or till the cheese has melted and the top has turned golden brown.
  25. Let it cool for 5-10 minutes. Slice and serve hot.
homemade lasagna sheets without a pasta maker

Notes:

1. Make sure that the lasagna sheets are covered at all times and do not dry out, else after baking, the sheets would turn crisp and won’t remain soft.

2. As I was using a round tray for baking, I did not cut the sheets into rectangle or square sheets.

3. You can use vegetables like carrot, zucchini, colored bell peppers, egg plants.

4. You can use canned tomatoes instead of fresh ones.

5. I ran out of mozzarella cheese when I came to the top layer, so used some processed cheese on top to finish it off.

6. For Eggless pasta dough, just replace the eggs with 50 ml or 1/4 cup of vegetable/olive oil and some little water to make the dough.

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