Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter

    Wednesday, September 10, 2008

    Marcella Hazan The Divine Signora M

    I am a new convert to Marcella’s writing and I am so excited.
    After reading "Angela Hartnett' s Cucina", I went onto the net and immediately ordered all the Marcella books in my local library... and after reading these have ordered “Marcella’s Italian Kitchen” from Dymocks.
    It is fantastic. Her writing is so inspirational. Like Elizabeth David she writes a little paragraph or two about the recipe…whether it is an old family favourite, from a friend, a restaurant...even her husband, plus of course so many recipes which will have originated from her kitchen.
    Always a little history of the dish.
    My mouth waters.
    So after reading the pasta section I just had to make the Vegetable Lasagne.
    It contains carrots, courgettes and broccoli in a béchamel sauce.

    A heart attack waiting to happen, but at least you could say you died happy.
    Replaced broccoli with cauliflower. Broccoli is so expensive at the moment and I object to paying nearly $4 for a head!!!
    This is a post worthy of Ruth from Once upon a feast Presto Pasta night
    There will be a round up on Friday. Have a look at Ruth's Site

    Got out the pasta machine and the 00 flour and some Jumbo free range eggs.
    I had made Angela Hartnett’s recipe a couple of weeks ago and she puts oil and salt in hers.
    Not so Signora Hazan.
    So I went ahead. Took a bit of kneading but soon I had a little package of silky pasta wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge. Look at the end of the post for the pasta recipe.

    Miss Cleo, the littlest grandchild, was here for the day
    so I had to make the lasagne while she was asleep…as she is fairly busy when up, and this recipe even though delicious, is quite work intensive,

    I was also cursing the size of my kitchen as I needed lots of bench space for this dish. Don’t let the thought of the work put you off though… it really is great.

    The vegetables are cooked gently in garlic flavoured butter
    Nice cheesy sauce added to them and then layered up as per normal lasagne.
    Lovely aromas filled my kitchen

    The Filling
    400 gms carrots, peeled, washed and sliced into 1/4 inch discs
    6 tablespoons butter plus additional butter for greasing the pan (Actually I used olive oil)
    6 garlic cloves peeled and cut in half
    400 gms courgettes washed and cut the same size as the carrots
    1 head broccoli or 1/2 head cauliflower.

    Pasta dough...either make your own recipe below or buy fresh lasagne pasta.

    To prepare the vegetables
    In a good size skillet add 1 1/2 tablespoon butter
    2 of the garlic cloves
    and turn the heat onto medium
    When garlic is light brown remove
    Add carrots and 3 tablespoons water
    Cook gently till water absorbed turning occasionally
    till carrots are tender but not mushy.
    Season with sea salt and gfresly ground black pepperand place in a mixing bowl.

    Wipe the skillet and repeat this method with the courgettes
    Season and into another bowl

    Meanwhile blanch the broccoli/cauliflower
    Drain and cool
    Slice into thin slices like the other vege
    Follow the method for the carrots and courgettes
    Cook in garlic butter and 3 tablespoons water over medium heat turning occasionally.
    Remove from pan and place in a third bowl.
    Make the Béchamel Sauce

    5 tablespoons butter
    4 1/2 tablespoon flour
    3 cups milk heated with a bay leaf
    Sea salt & freshly ground black freshly ground black pepper
    1 3/4 cups grated Parmesan
    1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

    Melt the butter
    Add the flour
    Cook about 4 minutes till flour cooked out.
    Add warm milk and stir till thickened
    Add 1 cup parmesan
    Beat well
    Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste,
    Remove bay leaf

    Grease your gratin dish
    Smear over a couple of spoonfuls of sauce to bottom of dish
    Keep aside 3/4 cup béchamel for the topping
    Then divide the rest of the béchamel into the 3 bowls of vege.
    So now assemble the meal.

    Lay sheets of pasta over the bottom of the dish
    Layer over the carrot mix
    Another layer pasta

    Final layer pasta
    Spread over remainder of sauce
    Cover with 3/4 cup Grated parmesan
    Dot with (Yes) more butter

    Into pre-heated 200C oven for15-20 minutes until a light golden crust forms on top.
    Allow at least 10 minutes before serving.
    Like most lasagne this one can be assembled the day before it is to be baked.

    To make the Pasta.
    I guess most people have made pasta and if you haven’t it really is very simple.
    Don’t be frightened.
    First the old trusty pasta machine is necessary. I have borrowed my daughters but I believe they are not too expensive.
    You can roll by hand but I think it would be fairly hard.
    So as all the best Italians cooks say.

    You must make the pasta on the bench.

    2 cups 00 flour
    3 large eggs

    Extra bench flour for kneading and rolling

    Make a big mound of the flour and with your fingers make a well in the middle
    I added the eggs one by one to stop them from sliding out onto the floor
    With a fork gently beat the egg like a omelet in the well and start to work the flour into the centre.
    As the egg is absorbed add the next one and continue to work till you get a ball.
    Start kneading.
    It’s an easy dough to knead, you will have to use extra bench flour till you get the right consistency.

    If you are not sure that you have put in enough flour,

    push a finger into the dough as far as its centre. It should come out clean and dry.

    If it is moist or there are bit of dough stuck to your fingers work in additional

    flour till it feels just right.
    Pop into the fridge for at least an hour.

    When you are ready
    Flour your bench

    Take a quarter of your pasta dough
    Roll out into a rectangle

    Then through the machine on the widest gap
    Fold in half and repeat another 3 times.
    Close the notch to the next level
    Through the machine again
    I floured the bench where the dough came out so it didn’t stick to the bench.
    Continue dropping the notch till it is nice and thin.

    Lay out on floured bench and cut into rectangles

    Brush of the excess flour and prepare to pre-cook
    Have a pot of boiling salted water
    Drop in about 3-4 at a time when they float to the top
    Take them out
    Drain in a colander and wash under cold tap.

    Have a tea towel ready on the bench
    Lay the squares on the towel
    Pat dry and "voila" they are ready to go.
    Layer away.

    Here’s another simple appetizer from the book…I just had to make this.
    So easy and so tasty.
    Tuna Spread with Capers

    2 x 300gms tins of best tuna in olive oil
    8 tablespoon good unsalted butter softened to room temperature
    3 tablespoon capers

    Drain the tuna of all the olive oil it was packed in
    Into the food processor with butter and capers
    Blitz to a creamy consistency
    Adjust seasoning to taste.

    Great for canapés

    Spread on little croutons topped with a sliver of red freshly ground black pepper.
    Pretty and good accompaniment with wine.

    I have had it on my toast for breakfast with tomato slices on top.

    And it was particularly great on Vogels toast, to accompany a bowl of Brussel sprouts and Leek soup.
    Excellent lunch.


    Ruth Daniels said...

    Little Miss Cleo is beautiful. And the lasagna looks pretty awesome too. Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights.

    Did you know that Marcella Hazan's memoire is coming out next month? The NYTimes wrote about it yesterday. Apparently her husband translated all her books and recipes.

    Arfi Binsted said...

    Wow, what a meal, Gilli! I haven't tried to make pasta myself. I think I should put the pasta machine on the Christmas shopping list hehehe... Cutie miss Cleo.

    So Simple said...

    Thank you ladies she is cute.
    Go for the machine Arfi it's worth it.
    Ruth have read the review you sent me about Marcella thank you, will have to order a copy.

    katiez said...

    Looks delicious! I love the combination of vegetables.
    And what a little cutie!!!

    So Simple said...

    Yes Katie Vegies...the health in the dish