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I remember very well my grandmother and my mother standing at their kitchen tables, first forming the pasta dough on a board with their hands and then rolling the dough with a long broom handle.
At the time, I thought this was too much work for pasta. After I was married, mixers and processors and pasta machines became very popular, so I was then willing to try my hand at this age-old tradition.

With modern equipment, making homemade noodles is not difficult and I have shortened the process as much as I can without losing taste or quality. Certainly this is not something you would do everyday, but it is fun to make your own pasta once in a while.

When you want something special for dinner, homemade lasagna is a really good choice and making your own lasagna noodles will take it a step further.

Lasagna made with homemade whole wheat spinach noodles tastes so much better than using the dried variety. Whole Wheat pasta made from scratch tastes entirely different from anything you can buy.

If you normally do not like store-bought whole wheat pasta, this recipe may change your mind. Homemade lasagna noodles do not need to be boiled before assembling the lasagna, thus another step is eliminated.

Homemade Spinach Whole Wheat Lasagna Noodles

Makes 16 lasagna noodles

Ingredients:

  • 10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed very dry
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup King Arthur semolina flour
  • 1 cup King Arthur white whole wheat flour
  • flour for board and rolling

Directions:

Place spinach, eggs, olive oil and salt in processor bowl. Cover and blend until pureed.

Add flours to spinach mixture and process until smooth and the dough forms a ball.

Place on a floured board, cover and let rest 10 minutes.

After the dough has rested, divide into 4 even pieces.

Set aside and cover 3 pieces while you work with the 4th. piece

Lightly dredge the working space and dough with whole wheat flour.

Flatten the dough with your hand so it will  feed through the smooth thinning rollers.

Roll the piece of dough through the largest setting on your machine.

Remove the dough, fold in thirds, so it is as wide as the machine roller.

Repeat the roll.

Cut the sheet in half.

Dial the machine down to the next smallest setting and roll each pasta strip through.

Continue to dial to the next setting.

Cut each strip in half again. Roll each strip making sure to dust with flour if the strips become sticky.

Dial to the 2nd to the last smallest setting and roll each strip.  You should have four strips each about 12-13 inches long and 3 inches wide.

Do not use the last setting because it will make the noodles too thin for lasagna.

Lay out three kitchen towels and sprinkle them with semolina flour.

Arrange the rolled out pasta strips on the towels and dust each with semolina flour.

Repeat the entire process with the other three pieces of  dough. You will have 16 strips.

If you are not ready to make the lasagna or you want to make the noodles the day before, you can place them in a container between sheets of waxed paper dusted with semolina flour, 2 noodle strips per layer, and refrigerate the container until you are ready to assemble the dish.

When it comes time to make the lasagna, you will place 4 pasta strips in a 13×9 inch baking dish and add  three more layers of 4 noodles in between layers of sauce and cheese.

Putting the Lasagna Together

Ingredients:

Filling:

Mix together all the ingredients, cover and refrigerate until you are ready to make the lasagna.

  • 3 cups skim milk ricotta
  • ½ lb mozzarella cheese chopped or shredded
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil
  • 2 large eggs, beaten or ½ cup egg substitute
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish with olive oil spray.
Spread 1 cup Bolognese sauce over bottom of prepared dish. Arrange 4 lasagna noodles in dish. Arrange 1/3 of the cheese filling on top.  Spoon 1 cup Bolognese sauce over cheese. Repeat layering 2 more times. Top with 4 lasagna noodles. Spread 1 to 1 1/2 cups sauce over the top.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Cover lasagna with foil. Bake 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until noodles are tender and top is golden, about 15 -20 minutes longer. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

Lasagna Ready To Be Baked.

If you would like to make whole wheat lasagna noodles without spinach, here is a recipe you can use:

Homemade Whole Wheat Lasagna Noodles

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups King Arthur semolina flour
  • 1 1/2 cups King Arthur white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
Follow the directions above for making spinach whole wheat lasagna noodles.

Benefits of Buying Seasonal Produce

Cost: Seasonal food is often cheaper than out of season produce because it doesn’t require anywhere near as much effort to produce. If it’s the right season, food can be pretty much left to grow on it’s own, meaning it’s far less labor intensive and time-consuming. As consumers, we have gotten used to seeing strawberries in our stores all year round and many of us don’t realise the hidden costs of having out of season produce available.  We may, also, forget what the taste of real, seasonal strawberries are like.
Flavour/taste: Blueberries and cherries taste great in the summer but buy them in the winter and you will be disappointed with the taste, texture and flavor. Food that’s allowed to grow and ripen properly is far tastier than artificially produced food that’s travelled thousands of miles to reach the supermarket shelves. On a positive note, some supermarkets are starting to stock produce from local suppliers and you often find the number of air miles (or the country of origin) printed on the packaging which allows us to make a more informed choice.
New experiences with food: If you follow the seasons (as opposed to a shopping list) you’ll also find a more rich and varied collection of fruit and vegetables, which will entice little ones to experience lots of interesting tastes and textures.

Seasonal Ingredient Map

Use Epicurious’ interactive map to see what’s fresh in your area, plus find ingredient descriptions, shopping guides, recipes, and tips.

http://www.epicurious.com/articlesguides/seasonalcooking/farmtotable/seasonalingredientmap

Summer Vegetable Pizzas

Most fresh seasonal vegetables are delicious on pizza — thinly sliced red or green tomatoes, sweet peppers (red, green, yellow or orange), red onions, scallions, finely chopped broccoli, sliced mushrooms and asparagus tips. Fresh herbs will give intense flavor and fragrance — oregano, basil, parsley, rosemary, arugula, dill and plenty of fresh minced garlic. Keep the combinations simple and light without adding too much cheese. Thinly sliced green tomatoes with basil leaves, oregano, scallions and garlic  are colorful and inviting choices.
Use a mixture of Italian (parmigiano reggiano, asiago, pecorino romano, fontina) and other imported cheeses, such as Irish cheddar, French gruyere or English cheddar. Look for flavorful American artisanal cheeses or sharp white Vermont cheddar (Cabot). Grate and mix two or three cheeses together. Keep the cheeses in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Pizza Dough

All-purpose unbleached flour makes an excellent crust, with a deep golden color and a rich baked taste.  Add whole-wheat flour for a more nutritious, nutty taste.

2 cups King Arthur unbleached all-purpose flour and 2 cups King Arthur white whole-wheat flour
2 packages dry rapid rise yeast
2½ teaspoons kosher salt
1½ cups warm water
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Mix the flour, salt and yeast in an electric mixer (such as a KitchenAid) using the dough hook,  Mix very warm water and the olive oil together. Pour the liquids into the flour mixture. Knead with mixer for about 10 minutes, until the dough comes together. It will form a ball and should be firm and not sticky. Place the dough in a deep oiled bowl covered with plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm place. It will double in size in about one hour. While the dough is rising, prepare the toppings.

Putting It Together

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. You will need two large pizza baking pans, greased and very lightly sprinkled with cornmeal.
Shape the dough to fit the pizza pan using oiled fingers. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
Sprinkle the dough with a small amount of the grated mixed cheeses. This will help to seal the dough and keep it crisp. Top with sliced tomatoes, other vegetables, garlic and herbs. Season the pizza with freshly ground white pepper. Lightly sprinkle more grated mixed cheese or crumbled feta or shredded mozzarella cheese on top.

Don’t use too many ingredients and leave space between the toppings, so that the pizza will turn out crisp. The preheated oven should have racks on the bottom and the middle. Place one pizza on the bottom rack and one on the middle rack for about 10 minutes. Switch positions and bake for another 8 to 10 minutes until the cheese is melted, but not brown. Pizzas can be baked separately on the middle rack for 15 to 20 minutes.

Some Ideas To Get You Started

green tomato, broccoli, asparagus, basil, and cheese pie

red tomato, yellow squash, sweet peppers, and red onion pie

 

Summer Vegetable Pizza

When peppers, sweet corn, and cherry tomatoes are at their peak, there’s nothing like enjoying them on pizza.

  • 1 large pizza crust, recipe above                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
  • 1 cup homemade marinara sauce
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels
  • 2 bell peppers, sliced thin
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions
Preheat oven to 425 degree F.  Stretch or roll pizza dough out to cover a 16 inch pizza pan.
In a small bowl mix marinara sauce, garlic, olive oil, and oregano. Spread evenly over the dough. Top with corn, peppers, and tomatoes. Season vegetables with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Top with basil, mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake for about 20 minutes at or until the top is golden, and bubbly – and the crust is browned and cooked underneath. Let cool before slicing.

Herbs and Tomato, Kalamata Olive  Pizza with Peppers, Arugula, Onions, Basil, Olives, and Cheese

4 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced thin
2 oz. Italian fontina, shredded
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup of fresh arugula, chopped
1 cup fresh basil leaf (julienne)
1 cup plum tomatoes, sliced
1 red bell pepper sliced into strips
½ medium sweet onion, sliced into strips
4 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1 small hot chile, chopped (crushed red pepper may substitute)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste


Arrange topping ingredients on pizza dough and bake as directed above.

Now create some summer pizzas of your own based on what is in season in your area.



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