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Chef Craig Flinn's Pasta Recipes

BASIC PASTA DOUGH

Probably the simplest (or at least shortest) recipe you will ever see. This basic ratio for fresh pasta dough is nearly foolproof. Italians will tell you that adding salt to the dough toughens it... you only season the water in which it is boiled. Allow 100g of flour per person for ribbon pasta like fettuccini or linguini. You can also make this the traditional way by hand on a tabletop or in a food processor, as I instruct you here.

  • 100 g flour
  • 1 large egg

Pulse the flour and egg dough in a food processor until it comes together in a ball inside the machine. Dump it out and knead for at least 5 minutes, but preferably 10. Wrap tightly in cling film and refrigerate for 2 hours to rest. Use this dough in a pasta machine or roll out very thinly and cut by hand with a knife. This basic dough is great for ravioli, ribbons, or lasagna noodles. Dust liberally with flour and set out on cookie sheets until ready to use. Fresh pasta should air dry if not being used right away, but always try to use as quickly as possible once made.



LASAGNA "BOLOGNAISE"

One of the simplest and most delicious sauces for pasta imaginable, every region of Italy has its own version of bolognaise sauce. What makes this sauce unique is the fact that the meat is not browned first but actually cooked in the tomato sauce. As the sauce simmers the meat becomes very fine in texture. 

LASAGNA BOLOGNAISE is the ultimate rich Italian dish (originating in the city of Bologna), and one of the best ways to enjoy the meat sauce. It requires a sauce béchamel as well, but the extra effort is well worth it. Serve this dish with simple salad, Caesar, or a few slices of fresh tomato. Italians would NEVER have bread with it, but I must admit to indulging in garlic toast once or twice.

For the bolognaise meat sauce:

  • 1 medium onion minced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 stalk celery minced
  • 1 medium carrot grated (on a box grater is fine)
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) dried basil
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) dried oregano
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) sea salt
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp (3 mL) chili flakes
  • 1/4 cup (125 mL) EVOO
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 cup (250 mL) red wine
  • 1 cup (250 mL) beef stock
  • 2 8 oz cans diced Italian tomatoes
  • 2 8 oz cans regular tomato sauce
  • 1.5 lbs organic ground beef

Sauté vegetables, dried herbs, salt, pepper, and chili flakes in olive oil. Cook until slightly browned. Add tomato paste and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Deglaze with wine and beef broth. Add all canned tomatoes. When the sauce is still cool add the raw ground beef to the sauce and immediately begin mashing it with a potato masher to break up the meat into small granules. Bring to a simmer and cook for 90 minutes stirring often. If the sauce is acidic, a little sugar can be added at the end.

For the béchamel sauce:

  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

In a saucepan melt the butter and add the flour. Stir until a smooth paste forms and cook for about 3 minutes over medium heat. Add the milk one cup at a time whisking continuously to avoid lumps. Season with salt and nutmeg. Remove from the heat and whisk in parmesan cheese to finish.

For the lasagna:

***Have your two sauces ready to go as well as a large lasagna pan, well greased with butter or olive oil.
  • 2 packages "NO BOIL" lasagna noodles
  • 3 cups grated mozzarella or Italian blend cheese
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • 1.2 cup chopped Italian parsley

Start with one full ladle of meal sauce on the very bottom of the dish. Cover evenly with dry noodles. Add more meal sauce. Each layer of suce should be  about 1/2 inch thick and appear a little wetter than necessary (the noodles will absorb water as they cook, making the lasagna firmer when cooked). Add a layer of béchamel sauce and grated cheese. There are no rules at this point... just layer all the ingredients as you like. The top layer should be meat 
and cheese. Bake at 350 F for about 1 hour. If the top becomes dark before the lasagna noodles are easy to pierce with a paring knife, place aluminum foil over the top and continue baking.

IMPORTANT: Allow the lasagna to rest for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving. It will be too runny otherwise.

ENJOY!

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