Lasagna from scratch, locally

Step 1:  Start the sauce.
Try roasting your local or home-grown tomatoes, garlic and onions in the oven with olive oil and whatever fresh herbs you have on hand.  (I got this idea from a friend who is also a “localvore.”)  Add salt and pepper and roast in a 400 degree oven for about an hour.   Puree and cook down further with some red wine.    Eccellente! 

Here is a break down of what I use to roast:
4-5 T. extra virgin olive oil, divided
4 lbs. tomatoes
1 sweet onions
1 head of garlic with top cut off
1 sweet pepper
Fresh rosemary, oregano, basil
Salt and pepper

Sorry, it is a little blurry.

Step 2:  Make your cheese.
(See previous post on “Making cheese.”)  Make mozzarella and ricotta.

Step 3:  Pick some fresh basil from the garden.
If you have the “lettuce leaf” variety, it is the best for this recipe.  If not, pick the biggest leaves you can.

Step 4:  Make the pasta.
This step is not difficult and I would encourage anyone that doesn’t have a pasta machine to go find a hand-cranked one.  It really does not take that long to make.   I just use the recipe that came with my machine or the recipe on the semolina package.  If you are scared of this step, use store bought.

Step 5: To brown or not to brown?  Meat is the question.
If you want a meat-based pasta, brown the sausage that you bought from a local farmer.  But, this lasagna is just as good without.

Step 6:  Layer it all up.
Put a little sauce on the bottom, then one sheet of pasta, cheeses, basil, more sauce and so on.  Keep layering until all your ingredients are done.  (I do like to throw a bit of “non-local” shredded Parmesan on top.)

Step 7: Bake.
Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Step 8:  EAT 

I have read that lasagna made with fresh pasta gets mushy as leftovers and does not freeze well.  I have not found this to be true.


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