I thought today was as good of a day as any to try a new recipe and to use a never-used (by me) appliance. The first joint purchase that Nic and I made was a really old Atlas Noodle Maker Machine. It didn’t work at all, but at $10 it was a steal. Nic spent the next few days on the floor of his bedroom taking the machine apart, cleaning out all of the old dried pasta pieces and trying to figure out how the machine worked (and what was wrong in the first place). To his credit, the roller part of the Noddle Maker Machine did not want to crank at all. Eventually, perseverance paid off and we celebrated the fact that our first joint purchase was a usable appliance!
After that, it was put in a box and moved into an apartment (where it was used once), and then to Montana, where it has sat idle in the back of the appliance cabinet. I drug it out this afternoon to make lasagna noodles and re-discovered what a wonderful little Noodle Maker Machine it is!
The main function of a Noodle Maker Machine is to roll out your sturdy noodle dough into something that resembles a noodle in one of 7 thickness settings- 1 (thick) to 7 (paper thin). I didn’t make it past 5 today and thought that the noodles, once cooked, were a little too thick.
One thing I miss a whole lot about Portland is being able to purchase a sheet or two of fresh pasta, cut into whatever width you’d like (fettucine, linguine, angel hair?). I’ve dreaming of fresh spinach pasta, and now that I have remembered that I have the capability to make such a thing, I forsee a dream coming true.
Eggplant & Ricotta Lasagna 0r, lasagne con melazane y ricotta if you prefer Italian. From The Silver Spoon
1 large eggplant, sliced
Butter, for greasing
Lasagna sheets, or home made
2 ¾ c flour
½ c pine nuts
2/3 c ricotta cheese
½ c tomato paste
parmesan- freshly grated
How to make your own pasta:
Make a mound of flour and a pinch or two of salt on your counter top and create a well in the middle, lightly beat eggs and pour into the well. With fingers, gradually incorporate into flour. Knead for about 10 minutes. If the dough is too hard, add some water, if it is too sticky add flour. Shape dough into a ball and let it rest for a bit (15 minutes). Roll out on floured surface or use your handy-dandy Noodle Maker Machine to do the dirty work for you. Cut the pasta into large squares or rectangles (4×4) and leave on counter top to dry out.
Salt eggplant and let drain for about 2 hours. Rinse, pat dry, rub with olive oil and broil until tender.
Preheat oven to 350. Grease an ovenproof dish with butter.
Cook the lasagna sheets in a large pot of salted water until al dente (Much shorter cooking time if using home made noodles). Drain noodles and place on a damp dish towel until needed.
Arrange a layer of pasta on the base of the prepared dish. Layer half of the eggplant slices, sprinkle with half of the pine nuts, and evenly distribute half of the ricotta and tomato paste. If the paste is too thick, add some water to make it more manageable. Tear basil leaves over the dish and drizzle with olive oil. Repeat layering once and top with a generous layer of parmesan cheese.
Bake for about 40 minutes.