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March in my Daring Kitchen

March 27, 2009
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Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna

The March 2009 challenge is hosted by Mary of Beans and Caviar, Melinda of Melbourne Larder and Enza of Io Da Grande. They have chosen Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna from The Splendid Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper as the challenge.

While I’ll happily say that the final product was delicious, getting there wasn’t so pretty.

Here’s how it played out:

I have a very small counter space for process as big as rolling my own pasta, so I began working at my kitchen table to assemble my spinach pasta ingredients.  (Note to self and tip for others:  working at the table is not a good idea for a project that requires this amount of work.  The table is just too low of a work surface.)  Anyway.  Made the well… cracked the eggs… squeezed the spinach dry… I was on a roll.  Had the meat ragu simmering… looking good.

The minute I started trying to combine the ingredients for the pasta, I knew I was in trouble.  I had written in a previous post about my ineptitude at kneading and this venture just proved it.  I have these weird wrists and knees, but thankfully this didn’t require bike riding, which is also a problem.  But I digress.  So – my wrists.  Well, there’s no real explanation for it but if I do anything that requires a lot of elbow grease (washing windows, for example), I can usually count on a lot of pain in my wrists and hands.  I had no sooner begun to work with this pasta than I could just feel the ache and I knew I was in trouble.  The recipe said knead for 10 minutes!  Things were just not combining or coming together at all and I was muttering under my breath asking myself why I was doing this.  Then I was swearing a little.  Still under my breath, of course, because Claudia was in the next room.  So I took a breather to reassess my situation and emailed a little rant off to Bea.  Then I thought about quitting, but that doesn’t sit well with me.  So I screamed.  Did you see High School Musical 3?  When Troy sings the song Scream?  That was me, but I didn’t have Ms. Darvis to talk me down.  Instead, I popped some Advil, added some water to my pathetic pile of ingredients, and kneaded it for 10 minutes.  The dough and I both rested and recuperated for a bit before I rolled it out, and the rest of the process went pretty smoothly.  It never did turn any shade of green, though.  Instead it just had flakes of spinach throughout.

In order to preserve what was left of my sanity, I decided to do a lasange roll-up instead of a whole pan of lasange.  I followed the recipes for the pasta and the bechemel sauce that were provided, but used this meat ragu recipe.  The lasagne tasted delicious, no doubt about it, and I’m glad I can say I made my own pasta.  However.  And that’s a big However.  Why would anyone want to do this? I can buy fresh pasta at the store and there are gads of dried pastas available to me, so I cannot ever imagine wanting to do this again.  If I didn’t get it after my February debacle, I now understand why this group is called the Daring Bakers.  You don’t have to hit me over the head with a brick.  Or a rolling pin, as the case my be.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 29, 2009 3:35 am

    Hey, lady! GREAT job, seriously! You’ve got one up one me, I’m NOT a daring baker. I’m getting better at challenging myself but still not there. I like the idea of doing the lasagna roll up. I’ve been wating to try that. I haven’t made a pasta dish since Wed maybe I’ll try it tomorrow for dinner. Let me be clear I’ll be using the pasta already made and the sauce that comes in a jar that I can spruce up. :-)

    Btw, I haven’t made the sugar cookie bars yet. I had intended to for Devon’s class but his teacher had a special request. She wanted the same thing I made for her the week before. Devon told her my mom said she doesn’t like to make the same things. I’ve got the recipe printed out and ready to go.

  2. peasepudding permalink
    March 30, 2009 6:19 pm

    I like your roll ups, nice change from lasagna! I don’t think I could have rolled the pasta by hand and I am thankful we have a pasta maker, the hubby is very keen on homemade pasta so it gets quite a bit of use, Well done.

  3. March 30, 2009 10:45 pm

    Hah! I can relate… I’ve gotten myself in over my head in the kitchen a few times too. It looks really tasty though!

    I can also relate to popping Advil and continuing on… A few years ago, in February, my husband and I decided to dig post holes to put a new dog run in our back yard. In FEBRUARY. In COLORADO. I know it’s hard to believe, but the ground is pretty hard at that time of year! (Who knew?) My forearms got so sore and I just took ibuprofin and kept on digging, and ended up giving myself fractured bones. Not my finest hour.

    Hope you fared a little better with your cooking adventure! No broken bones, right? ;)

  4. oneordinaryday permalink
    April 4, 2009 10:31 pm

    Ingrid – Thanks. It was definitely daring!

    peasepudding – I actually didn’t mind the rolling part so much. It was the kneading that got to me. The fresh pasta really does taste wonderful, but I don’t think I’ll be keen on doing it again anytime soon.

    Farmer Gal – Nope. No broken bones. LOL

    – Shell

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