Saturday, April 4, 2009

Simple Joie De Vivre~

I love the fact that I was blessed to enjoy simple things.
Like playing around in the kitchen~
I was totally taken this week at FG and TS w/ the Daring Bakers Lasagnas..
I thought to myself.."try that Spinach Lasagna"..and I did:)

Pasta is so simple.. eggs..flour..some oil..some herbs sometimes..
Simple beauty..

In the above recipe.. fresh finely chopped spinach was added..The person that got me going had this..

A simple spinach pasta heart..all the lasagnas in the world didn't motivate me..but the heart did.I wish I had kept the info of the poster..I am indebted:)

What a wonderful wonderful pasta recipe..Will I ever be able to eat a regular one now?

I had home made sauce..I made the béchamel..we had the cheese.. I just had to make the pasta..A meal that was just perfect tonight here in QC..Dark..raining and humid~

It's Sat. tonight..I often write my blog ahead of time..

Tonight's the night:)

Anyways... the recipe is divine..

We had a side of 5 Minute Artisan Garlic Bread and Jacque's wine..It was just delicious!

It's funny the final encouragement was purchasing a pasta machine yesterday..But w/ all the spinach in this recipe..I feared it would stop the process going smoothly so I rolled it by hand and used the hand roller/cutter I bought in Italy..

Do you see the boot of Italy? Beautiful..inoubliable Casteluccio...

We missed the poppies there.. they are known for those.. but saw the boot..the mist.. the hay..the unimaginable views..One of the MOST spiritual places I saw. Even compared to all the riches of Italy..this landscape held THE simple charm I love.

What wonderful memories making pasta .. brought back.. Classical music playing..raindrops on the windows...It's just nice to like being home.

I did use my machine for another will be a later post..I LOVED it!

Here is the Lynn Rossetto Kasper recipe.. for the pasta only..

#1 Spinach Egg Pasta (Pasta Verde)

Preparation: 45 minutes

Makes enough for 6 to 8 first course servings or 4 to 6 main course servings, equivalent to 1 pound (450g) dried boxed pasta.

2 jumbo eggs (2 ounces/60g or more)
10 ounces (300g) fresh spinach, rinsed dry, and finely chopped; or 6 ounces (170g) frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
3&1/2 cups (14 ounces/400g) all purpose unbleached (plain) flour (organic stone ground preferred)

Working by Hand:

A roomy work surface, 24 to 30 inches deep by 30 to 36 inches (60cm to 77cm deep by 60cm to 92cm). Any smooth surface will do, but marble cools dough slightly, making it less flexible than desired.
A pastry scraper and a small wooden spoon for blending the dough.
A wooden dowel-style rolling pin. In Italy, pasta makers use one about 35 inches long and 2 inches thick (89cm long and 5cm thick). The shorter American-style pin with handles at either end can be used, but the longer it is, the easier it is to roll the pasta.
Mixing the dough:
Mound the flour in the center of your work surface and make a well in the middle. Add the eggs and spinach. Use a wooden spoon to beat together the eggs and spinach. Then gradually start incorporating shallow scrapings of flour from the sides of the well into the liquid. As you work more and more flour into the liquid, the well’s sides may collapse. Use a pastry scraper to keep the liquids from running off and to incorporate the last bits of flour into the dough. Don’t worry if it looks like a hopelessly rough and messy lump.

With the aid of the scraper to scoop up unruly pieces, start kneading the dough. Once it becomes a cohesive mass, use the scraper to remove any bits of hard flour on the work surface – these will make the dough lumpy. Knead the dough for about 3 minutes. Its consistency should be elastic and a little sticky. If it is too sticky to move easily, knead in a few more tablespoons of flour. Continue kneading about 10 minutes, or until the dough has become satiny, smooth, and very elastic. It will feel alive under your hands. Do not shortcut this step. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and let it relax at room temperature 30 minutes to 3 hours.

Stretching and Thinning:
If using an extra-long rolling pin work with half the dough at a time. With a regular-length rolling pin, roll out a quarter of the dough at a time and keep the rest of the dough wrapped. Lightly sprinkle a large work surface with flour. The idea is to stretch the dough rather than press down and push it. Shape it into a ball and begin rolling out to form a circle, frequently turning the disc of dough a quarter turn. As it thins outs, start rolling the disc back on the pin a quarter of the way toward the center and stretching it gently sideways by running the palms of your hands over the rolled-up dough from the center of the pin outward. Unroll, turn the disc a quarter turn, and repeat. Do twice more.

Stretch and even out the center of the disc by rolling the dough a quarter of the way back on the pin. Then gently push the rolling pin away from you with one hand while holding the sheet in place on the work surface with the other hand. Repeat three more times, turning the dough a quarter turn each time.

Repeat the two processes as the disc becomes larger and thinner. The goal is a sheet of even thickness. For lasagne, the sheet should be so thin that you can clearly see your hand through it and see colours. Cut into rectangles about 4 by 8 inches (10 x 20 cm). Dry the pasta at room temperature and store in a sealed container or bag.

I cooked mine straight away.. 2 + minutes..and assembled the lasagna w/ my mom's sauce recipe ..and my béchamel and cheese.And I used 3 eggs as mine were not JUMBO.

It is unusual that I will eat everything on my plate(not that part) but go and eat more..:) I did w/ this.So delicious!!!


  1. That really looks good!
    I always admired how you would find a recipe and run with it!
    I must try to do that.
    Suzy has a good challenge. Try one recipe each time a new magazine arrives.
    I did the scones from Martha's Everyday Food...very good! But now I am behind on trying new things..
    Yours sounds like a perfect dinner!

  2. oh it came out so pretty! i know you loved making it too, your new best friend at a great price!

    i have to say when you showed the brown hill i thought it was ca! you always say i look like italy, never felt in once, but that pic looks like home~ minus the boot!

    the heart is so you, i am sure all will be green with envy~

    fab post as usual, what would i do without all my daily eye candy...

  3. Ann told us, and Moe was right! It's a fairytale from the beginning when we visit your blog Mme. Magical.

    Everything looks perfect, and I'm sure it tasted so, too.

    Of course you know the heart captured mine. :) ((hugs dear one.)) xo

  4. The minute I saw Zoe Francois' new post I fell in love with that lasagna too and you've already made it! And you bought a pasta machine - yea! Life's enrichment and our kitchen joys - to create and feed our loved ones :) It's all good.

  5. I saw Italy before I've read your text... and you write exactly about my thoughts. When we know know how to cook, are we able to eat something more cheap? homemade pasta is far too expensive

  6. Oh - that lasagna looks divine!

  7. Hi! I confess again I didn't use the pasta machine for this lasagna..I did use it later in the daya and will post the results later.
    I was worried the amount of spinach would clog the machine..The apparatus was only $19.99 so my concern was well founded..however I should not have been concerned.. Shule I think the name of the machine is..proved to be a tough little ace of spades new toy.
    A new little passion I think:)
    Susan..your post too ingrained the thought..and then as we were out doing errands and I saw it..J said.. "oh you will enjoy doing that"..He was right..
    and when something goes well it is just an encouragement to do more!
    I just went to Zoes' site Susan..thanks..She is right it's not something you whip up after a day of day of work got canceled and this was just the soothing tonic I needed:)

  8. Just beautiful always....I think I need to pull out my old hand cranked pasta machine and give this recipe a whirl. I honestly have not made pasta in a ling time and it is so satisfying!
    That lasagna just looks delicious!

  9. Wonderful post, Monique. I love making homemade pasta but for some reason, I so rarely do it! Thanks for the impetus to make it again. all the DBs will be making pasta from scratch soon!

  10. OK - you've given me encouragement to make my own pasta..... My mouth is watering! I love your careful instructions for the rolling - thank you. I must, must try!

  11. I have never seen this sort of pasta making contraption before. What is it?

    Your pasta looks great!

    Chew on That

  12. Hillary it's simply a roller with the ridges..and they are quite cuts the pastat as you roll..I don't know if we can find them in Canada or the USA.. I bought it in Italy..
    Sue it's really fun. Do it before Mass thaws out:)

  13. Italy.......sigh.

    I will go one day you watch.
    As for your pasta...
    much like everything else you do,
    its done with love which is what I think brings all of us to gather round your table Nana...


  14. I realize this is an older post that I'm commenting on but I followed it from the bottom of your blog's most recent entry.
    Monique, your way with words mesmerizes me! I am SO glad you are back to blogging. I enjoy my visits to your *home* so very much.

    I also found the site where your green spinach ♥ was first mentioned, just in case you wanted to save it: