I’ve done lasagna a handful of times now and everytime I do things a little bit differently. I’ve tried it with my homemade dough, traditional dried pasta as well as the oven ready (no boil) noodles. Overall I think I still like the traditional pasta that you boil first. This time I decided to jazz up the recipe a bit with some sauteed mushrooms along with italian sausage and I have enjoyed this one the best.
Ingredients for sauce
28 ounce Cento San Marzano peeled tomatoes
Dried oregano / Dried Basil
Rind of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Directions for sauce
Sauté dieced garlic in the olive oil in a pot
Add in the tomatoes (crush whole tomatoes with hands), tomato paste, oregano, basil, rind of parmigiano, bay leaf, salt.
Simmer for at least 30 minutes and up to a few hours.
Ingredients for lasagna
Sauce from above
1 box of traditional dried lasagna noodles
Whole milk mozzarella cheese
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (put in a food processor to make into crumbles for spreading – easier than trying to grate or slice).
Mild italian sausage (can also use ground beef, pork, chicken, etc)
Directions for lasagna
Sauté slice mushrooms until soft and tender, add salt for flavoring
Cook sausage (remove from casing and crumble) in some olive oil
Cook pasta (follow directions) and then lay out on a oiled cookie pan to prevent from sticking to one another
Add a layer of sauce to bottom of casserole dish to help prevent sticking
Add layer of pasta
Can create layers as desired – I did mushrooms with sauce and cheese (mozz/parmigiano/ricotta as dollops), then another layer of noodle, then a layer with sausage and sauce/cheese.
Repeat a few more times (depends on amount of pasta and sauce you have)
Top layer: Add sauce and then cheese layer
Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 375 F for 30-40 minutes, then uncover and bake additional 15 minutes.
It’s been awhile. That’s kind of the theme for this place, not that anyone is really paying attention. In the end I like having this as a record of my baking/cooking and traveling adventures and to look back on for recipes that have worked (don’t usually publish things that don’t work because why keep that). The other night I decided to try my hand at some brownies. Aside from cookies and banana bread, I don’t do much in the way of sweets baking. D isn’t a huge cake person so haven’t really had a desire to do that. I am not opposed to pies though just haven’t got around to attempting anything. So brownies it was. I looked up a few different recipes and of course looked to Ina Garten since she has some good recipes (especially booze ones). I then kind of modified it to my own. D wanted to incorporate some peanut butter into it. I was initially going to do a PB swirl type thing but then elected to just use the peanut butter chips I had.
1/2 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter
3.5 ounce dark chocolate (had a bar of some random Russian chocolate)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
~1 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 1/4 AP flour
1 packet (~ 1 Tbsp?) of instant coffee
Using a bain marie (I did a makeshift one with a small pot with simmering water and a metal bowl on top), I melted the chocolate and the dark chocolate bar.
I then mixed in the cocoa powder (probably could have added more as the final product didn’t come out as chocolatey as I was hoping).
In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar, vanilla, eggs and instant coffee
In 3rd bowl, mix the flour, salt, baking powder
After letting the chocolate mixture cool some, mix into the sugar/vanilla/egg mixture.
Coat some peanut butter and chocolate chips in flour
Fold in the flour mixture to the wet mixture from step #5. Then add in the chips.
Poured the final mixture onto parchment paper in a 8 by 8 pyrex pan
Baked at 350 F for about 30-35 minutes (until a toothpick came out clean)
Let sit on rack for 30 minutes and wait until cooled to cut.
Overall it came out pretty good. A bit more cake like than fudge like. As stated above, could use more cocoa powder. Overall a pretty simple recipe.
So I decided to try a new pizza dough recipe. This was made mostly out of necessity since I hadn’t made the dough the night ahead. I have been using the overnight slow no-knead method for years and it produces a night sour-like dough that D likes. I also haven’t used my new stand mixer for pizza dough and figured this would be a good time to try it out. I tweaked the original recipe a little. I had seen this recipe on one of my FB groups and it looked good – it’s a Martha Stewart recipe (https://www.marthastewart.com/332275/basic-pizza-dough).
2 tsp active dry yeast
2 Tbsp sugar
(eyeballed) 1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp salt
4 cups AP flour
1.5 cups of warm water
In the bowl I added the warm water with the sugar and yeast and let it bloom for about 5 minutes.
To the bowl I then added the AP flour, salt and olive oil.
Using my stand mixer, I mixed the dough for ~10 minutes (on the low or #2 setting)
This produced a cohesive smooth dough that I placed in an oiled bowl and let rise until doubled (~1.5-2 hours) – this was a very active dough that more than doubled
I punched the dough down and then divided it into 4 equal pieces and formed 2 into balls for the pizza (I saved the other half to make bread another day).
After about 2-3 hours I formed the pizza into a large disc for baking.
What I liked about this recipe is that it provided for a dough with good strength to it when working it. The one I had been making was a little more delicate and harder to stretch into a nice round shape like the above. Overall I thought it was a little light on salt and didn’t create the same depth of flavor as the overnight dough but it works if you have less time.
These won’t be full posts on making the bread but just documenting how they came out. This time I did try to do normal kneading method. I don’t know again if my starter was up to snuff – though I did get good air holes in the final result. Also I’m running low on bread flour so used some AP flour as well as some wheat flour.
300 g AP flour
100 g bread flour
100 g whole wheat flour
360 g warm water
200 g starter
12 g salt
I did do an autolyse of the flour and water for about 45 minutes. I then added in the starter and salt. I proceeded to knead (Richard bertinet slap and fold method) for about 15 minutes. It came together some but was still fairly sticky. I use my oven proof setting for an hour and fifteen minutes. I then laid on a flour surface and formed it into a boule. This I placed in a bowl that had a well-floured kitchen towel. I ended up putting it in the fridge after about 30 minutes because I had to run an errand. I returned, removed from fridge and let it proof another hour or so. I preheated the dutch oven at 500F and then baked for 15 minutes covered and an additional 20 minutes uncovered.
Aside from regular sourdough bread, I had been kind of wondering what else to do with my starter. Luckily one of my FB groups are full of cooks and someone shared a sourdough ciabatta recipe they liked. I figured I’d give it go. The original recipe is here: https://breadtopia.com/sourdough-ciabatta/
I didn’t have the requisite 550g of starter ready but had 300g of starter so adjusted the recipe accordingly. When I was transcribing from the internet to a piece of paper (yes I’m still old school and typically don’t just look at a screen for my recipes but actually write them down on paper), I accidentally wrote my 2 so it kinda looked like a 7. So when I was weighing out the water, I accidentally did about 50% more than I had anticipated using. I then had to do a bunch of math to try to even things out. I’m not even going to try putting the actual recipe values on here (just go look at the original recipe). I’ll just go through my process and how it came out.