When I make lasagna, it’s an event. I don’t buy premade pasta sheets, I don’t use jarred sauce, and I don’t buy ricotta cheese. I make every step myself. It’s a marathon of steps that I usually split into several days, but it’s worth it. You could take only one thing from this lasagna, the homemade pasta for example and use store bought other stuff if you must, just to get you started into making things yourself. What’s important is you care enough to cook your own food. To know what’s going into that pan.
Since I made the Bison Tail Ragu Bolognese yesterday, that shortened the work a little today. I usually just make the ricotta on day two, but decided to just plough through and eat lasagna tonight. I’m gonna sleep like death because of it, but I’ll have the lingering flavours inside this lasagna with me as I doze into dreamland.
Lasagna with Bison Tail Ragu, Herbed Whole Milk Ricotta and Homemade Pasta
For the Herbed Whole Milk Ricotta:
1-1/2 cups Whole Milk Ricotta (most store bought is fine, just look for very few ingredients. If it has things like carrageenan, guar gum or other thickeners, look for a different brand)
2-1/2 Tbsp dried oregano
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp cold pressed canola oil
In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, oregano, garlic, salt, oil and egg. Set aside.
For the Red Fife/Park Wheat Pasta:
1-1/2 cups Red Fife flour (a heritage variety of wheat with a medium protein amount. Regular whole wheat flour would work fine)
2 cups Park Wheat flour (another heritage variety of wheat with higher protein. Whole wheat bread flour would work fine).
1 tsp salt
5 large eggs
2 Tbsp cold pressed canola oil
3-6 Tbsp water (as needed)
In a large bowl, combine the Red Fife and Park Wheat flours with the salt. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the eggs. Beat lightly and add the oil. Whisk together the eggs and oil with a fork until smooth and start to gradually bring in the dry ingredients to make a soft dough. Turn the dough out on to the counter and knead until soft, smooth and no longer sticky (about 10 minutes). Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
For the Lasagna:
1 Recipe Bison Tail Ragu Bolognese
Reserved Herbed Whole Milk Ricotta
Reserved Red Fife/Park Wheat Pasta
1 small can (137mL/5oz) tomato paste + 500mL(2 cups) water + 2 Tbsp honey
300g/12 oz gruyere cheese, shredded
200g/7oz herb and garlic flavoured gouda cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 190C/375F.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cut the pasta dough into 8 equal pieces. Form them into flat rectangles and using a pasta roller (either an attachment on a stand mixer or an old school one that you bolt to the counter or kitchen table), roll out each piece into a long pasta sheet about 1/4cm (1/8″) thick. Cut each sheet into smaller sheets that will fit into the lasagna pan. Boil four cut, rolled pasta sheets at a time in the boiling water (about 90 seconds to 2 minutes).
Spread 1/4 cup of the tomato paste/honey mixture at the bottom of two lasagna pans (15cm x 30cm or 6″ x 12″). Lay two pasta sheets on the bottom of each pan. Spread 1/3 of the Bison Tail Ragu Bolognese over the pasta sheets. Sprinkle with 1/2 of the gruyere cheese. Repeat with the other pan.
Boil four more pasta sheets, add two to each pan. Spread 1/2 of the Herbed Whole Milk Ricotta mixture in each pan. Boil four more pasta sheets. Lay over the ricotta layer. Divide the remaining Bison Tail Ragu Bolognese over the two pans. Split the remaining tomato paste/honey mixture over the ragu and finish with the herb and garlic gouda. Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes or until deeply golden.
*Note: There will be some leftover pasta sheets. Feel free to cut them into rustic tagliatelle and toss with another pasta sauce.