My Spaghetti Lasagna Western

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Lasagna

A Daring Bakers Film
Produced and Directed by Susan
Screenplay by Mary (Beans and Caviar), Melinda (Melbourne Larder),
and Enza (Io Da Grande)
Based on “Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna”
from The Splendid Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper
The March 2009 challenge is hosted by Mary of Beans and Caviar, Melinda of Melbourne Larder and Enza of Io Da Grande. They have chosen Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna from The Splendid Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper as the challenge.

The Good:

  • It tasted great. The family loved it. There was not a single sliver left over.
  • The Béchamel sauce was lump-free.
  • I tried, I really tried, to roll by hand. I rolled a quarter of the dough by hand. Therefore, I think I was a good, or at least semi-dutiful, Daring Baker.

The Bad:

  • My hand-rolling was a complete and total failure. I just could not get that thing to roll without ripping. I think my dough was too wet, because the directions said it should feel sticky. When I make pasta to roll by machine, it doesn’t feel sticky (or maybe my definition of sticky is different), but I thought maybe something about hand-rolling needed the dough to be stickier. In retrospect, I don’t think so.
  • Finally I got it into something cohesive and roughly the shape of Spain (but a lot smaller). At least I rolled it out until I could see my hand behind it, see?

    Oh, you don’t? Is this better?

  • I cheated and did the rest of the rolling by machine. I took to heart the instructions to roll as thinly as possible, and took it to maximally thin “8″ on the KitchenAid pasta roller attachment.
  • Because I was seriously pressed for time, having committed to take this thing to my sister’s for dinner and having spent almost a full hour trying to hand-wrangle the beast, I only rolled 2/3 of the dough and only cooked 3/4 of what I rolled. But they were rolled so thin that I only needed 2/3 of what I cooked to assemble the lasagna. If you do the math, this means I only ended up using 1/3 of the total dough in the actual lasagna. So it should come as no surprise that those noodles just disappeared, you could not even tell they were there in the finished product. Who is it that said you can’t be too rich or too thin? I don’t know about too rich, but I’m here to tell you that too thin can definitely happen.

The Ugly:

  • I wish I could tell you that the photo looks ugly because I was at my sister’s house and didn’t have my good camera or good lighting and everyone was telling me to hurry up already, we want to eat. But I can’t lie. The lasagna really was this ugly. Go ahead and laugh, because that’s what I did, after I cried.

As always, you can find plenty of evidence that the fault here is all mine and not that of the recipe, simply by checking out the beautiful and gorgeous lasagne of each and every Daring Baker who is not me.

CommentsLeave a comment

  1. says

    Oh, I’m so sorry to hear about the problems you had while rolling the dough… Anyway, your Lasagne looks great!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  2. says

    Ah the perils of cooking. Well done for sharing though.. I think it’s as informative to see dishes which haven’t gone quite to plan as perfect examples.

    I think that taste should be above perfection anyway!

  3. says

    I had to giggle too, I’m sorry Susan ;) It doesn’t look ugly though, at least it didn’t flop over on serving which is one of the worst things that can happen to lasagne. I loved this challenge though :)

  4. says

    Susan,
    I could see Andalucia in the second picture, but it seems the Pyrenees were in Madrid?(must of been displaced by a tectonic plate or your hand?)
    Doesn’t look ugly, besides my chef once said, food on a plate is 10% beauty, the most important factor should and always is the flavor, that’s all that counts! ; )

  5. SallyBR says

    Not ugly. With character. Personality. Unique.

    :-)

    I would never try to roll pasta dough by hand, knowing myself too well. I made the mistake of rolling too thin in the machine once. Even if you are using it to cut into pasta, too thin is no good.

    I bet your lasagna tasted absolutely wonderful

  6. says

    Wow – I didn’t even try to hand roll it – kudos! And I gave up at level 6 on the pasta roller. You’re way more hard core than me :) I’ve never found lasagna to be photogenic, but it sure looks tasty to me!

  7. says

    It’s all in the flavour, not the pretty face. :)
    Good for you for attempting hand rolling! I used my KA to setting 4, as I like the thick pasta.
    (I can see your mixer in the background – what a gorgeous beast!)
    The family loved it and it tasted great – then yours was a complete success!

  8. says

    Taste trumps looks every time with food. But, why did you want to roll by hand if you had a pasta attachment?

    My 12-yo is on a homemade pasta kick lately. The past two weeks, on her night to cook (both our girls make dinner once a week), she’s made homemade sauce and homemade pasta. I’m not complaining!

  9. says

    Well you are a better person than I am because I did not even try to hand roll it. As a matter of fact, it was so stiff that I kneaded by machine, spritzing it with water while it ran.

    I also rolled to an 8–but I used all of mine. My mother taught me at a very young age that lasagne always goes in a very deep pan. :) Thank goodness for mother wisdom.

  10. says

    Oh you poor girl, it doesn’t look that bad, really! At least the one that you rolled with machine look really good.
    Cheers,
    elra

  11. Kristen says

    I love it! I tried to hand roll pasta. Once. I figure that way I can say I’ve done it and prefer ye ole Kitchen Aid attachment. I bet that lasagna tasted incredible and that’s the most important part!

  12. says

    Anything that tastes that good can never be labeled ugly!! I’m glad you switched up to the ole pasta machine…no need to roll everything by hand! I would totally take you up on a piece of this lasagna. I think it sounds and LOOKS delicious!

  13. says

    Tasty lasagna and a funny write-up will save the day any time. No reason not to ride into the sunset with your head held up high. :)

    (Regarding the dough: I must have missed the part about it having to be sticky. Dusting the dough from the beginning works just fine. Every time it started to cling to the rolling pin I gave it a new fine dusting.)

  14. says

    Using a pasta machine is not cheating — so sayeth the hosts. But more power to those who hand rolled. My first batch through the roller was see-through thin, and that’s the pasta that had fun falling off the broom handle in wadded chunks. I made them slightly thicker after that. Crying, at midnight, because of wadded pasta is not a pretty sight!

    If it disappeared, it must have tasted delicious!

  15. says

    Yes, this thing took a looong time. I hand rolled mine b/c I don’t have a pasta machine (wahnnnnn). Kudos to anyone smart enough to not roll it by hand (I’d kick myself except my back hurts too much – ha ha!) I think you did a great job and lasagne is a VERY DIFFICULT dish to photograph and make pretty. Very. At least it was really delicious :)

  16. says

    Your post cracked me up! Your lasagna looks good to me! Kudos to you for even attempting to hand roll the pasta. I was too big of a weenie to try :)

  17. says

    I always look forward to your DB posts, no matter how they turn out. :)
    It would have been nice to blame it on the lights or the camera. I am not offering consolation, but I have found some of the tastiest food I have had has not necessarily been the best looking. And I’d say that your empty dish proves it.

  18. says

    Pretty faces fade fast. I’ll always go with character and personality. . . you have those in spades.
    Somethings just are not going to be.
    We loved this too and that’s what this is about!!

  19. says

    I am cracking up over your write up and the image of everybody telling you to hurry up so they could eat. Ah, the plight of a food bloggah, huh? I had quite a bit of pasta left over, too, so what gives? Like you said, everybody loved it. ; )

  20. Linda says

    I love it – as long as there’s a good story from it, nothing is a disaster, is it? :-D

    My husband and I make pasta every weekend (no low-carb types here..). My advice to you for the next round is that when you roll the pasta all the way to 8 (which is always.. ) you want to use the thinnest possible layers of filling. we usually put on 10-12 layers on our lasagne, each having just a hair’s breadth of filling – any one layer looks pretty skimpy, but when you take them all together, it all works out even. It comes out light, righ, satisfying and picture-worthy every time!

  21. says

    I hear you about the hand rolling…mine was a little too thick. I erred on the side of caution with my gf dough. It was a little too thick, but hey the crowd loved it. Beautiful job!

  22. says

    All that really matters is that they ate it all and that you gave it a good college try. I had a hell of a time with my dough being too sticky to.

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