Cooler temperatures have finally arrived (hooray!) and what a great month to break out the pasta attachments. I love the cooler days of fall and adding hearty comfort food into the dinner rotation. Nothing says comfort food to me like a big serving of cheesy pasta! I like traditional lasagna, but I LOVE nixing the meat and tomato sauce and adding some veggies and a big dose of cheese. This dish not only has ricotta and smoked Gouda layered between the noodles, but also a delicious coating of cheese sauce made with goat’s milk Gouda and baby Swiss. Cheese lovers’ heaven!
There are three main pasta attachments for the Ankarsrum base: lasagna, tagliatelle and fettuccine. These attachments are fairly straightforward, easy to use and make incorporating homemade pasta into your dinner routine quite simple. Check out this video for extra instructions on assembly and use. Let me point out that you should never submerge these attachments in water to clean! Just wipe down with a damp cloth or clean with a bristle brush. (The pasta discs are part of the meat grinder packages and aren’t featured this month.)
The key to a good pasta dough is semolina flour. Semolina flour is high in gluten and gives pasta that great chewy al dente texture. Try to find a semolina flour that is finely ground. I have tried out several brands and prefer this one because it is ground twice and produce a beautifully smooth dough. Hodgson Mill also carries a pretty good semolina flour. Bob’s Red Mill is my least favorite because it is coarser and produces a noodle that looks a little shaggy.
Depending on the brand of flour you are using, you may have to add a little more water or flour than the recipe calls for. I only found this to be the case with Bob’s Red Mill so far, but just wanted to give everyone fair warning.
However, when you first mix the dough up it will seem crumbly. But the rolling process will start to knead the dough and bring it together.
I needed 4 layers of pasta for this lasagna, so I rolled the dough all the way down to the thinnest setting. The easiest way to get pretty pasta is to start on the widest setting, roll through, fold in half and roll through again. Adjust to next setting, roll through, fold in half, and roll through again. Repeat until you get to the last setting. I had to roll a few noodles through 2-3 times on the very last setting since the dough tore in some places because it was thin.
Besides the pasta, there are two other main components in this lasagna: the spinach/mushroom filling and the cheese sauce. Let’s first start with the cheese sauce. I make cheese sauce all the time for homemade macaroni and cheese. It is very basic and only requires butter, flour, milk and cheese. I like to use a blend of cheese, usually one with a lot of flavor and then one that melts really well. For this recipe I used Goat’s Milk Gouda (my favorite) and Baby Swiss from a local dairy. You could also use sharp cheddar and fontina, or swap out for other personal favorites. Just make sure you use a cheese that will melt. The sauce is easy: make a quick roux with the butter and flour, add milk and cook till slightly thickened, add cheese and cook a little more. Viola! Cheese sauce.
If you have the shredder/slicer attachment, put it to work shredding your cheese:
Next we have the spinach and mushroom filling. I like this filling because I can make it all winter long without having to worry if anything is in season or not: mushrooms, frozen spinach, garlic and ricotta. Pretty basic, but extremely tasty! I used a mixture of cremini and baby portabellas. You could also use button, oyster or shitake. I then sprinkle a little smoked Gouda on top of the filling when assembling the lasagna. The smoked cheese combined with the mushrooms makes a great substitute for meat. And a little smoked cheese goes a long way, so don’t be puzzled by the small amount in the recipe.
I prefer to make the filling and cheese sauce and have my pan and pasta dough ready before I start rolling the pasta. That way I can roll out fresh lasagna noodles and assemble the dish at the same time.
I start with cheese sauce on the bottom and then a layer of noodles. This creates a nice base for holding the lasagna together when it comes time to serve it.
Since the pasta is fresh, this large pan of lasagna only takes 45 minutes to reach bubbly, browned cheese perfection.
Let us know if you have any questions or comments, we love hearing from our readers! Don’t forget the pasta attachments are on sale this month and the featured mixer color of the month is Light Crème.
Four Cheese Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 1 hour 6 minutes total (including cooking time of sauce and filling)
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1/2 pound goat’s milk Gouda or sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 pound baby Swiss or Fontina cheese, shredded
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 large cloves garlic, minced
24 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained
8 oz. whole milk ricotta
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 3/4 cup semolina flour
4 oz. smoked Gouda, shredded
semolina flour for dusting fresh pasta
For Cheese Sauce:
Melt butter in a 4 quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour. Cook for 1 minute, whisking constantly to prevent burning. Slowly add in milk, whisking to prevent any lumps from forming. Cook for 5 minutes until slightly thickened, whisking frequently. Add in cheese and whisk until cheese fully melts. Cook 6-7 minutes longer until beginning to bubble, whisking frequently to prevent cheese sauce from sticking to bottom of pan. Set aside until ready to use.
For Spinach/Mushroom Filling:
Heat olive oil in a 10 inch skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add spinach and ricotta, mix to thoroughly combine and cook for 3 minutes longer. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to use.
For Pasta Dough:
Attach the plastic whisking bowl and single wire whisks to the Ankarsrum base. Add everything but the semolina flour. Mix on medium speed (3 o’clock) until combined. Add semolina flour and mix on low speed (1 o’clock) until flour is fully incorporated; approximately 30 seconds.
Remove whisking bowl from Ankarsrum base and attach the lasagna roller. Divide dough into 4 equal portions. Keep portions you aren’t working with covered to prevent dough from drying out.
Place the lasagna roller on the widest setting. Flatten 1 portion of dough in your hands. Feed through the lasagna roller on the lowest speed. Fold dough in half and roll through same setting again. Adjust roller to the next setting down and repeat process until you reach the last setting.
Repeat with remaining dough portions.
To Assemble Lasagna:
Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.
Pour 1 cup of cheese sauce in bottom of baking dish and spread out to cover the entire bottom of the pan. Add 1 portion of freshly rolled lasagna noodles. Top with 1/3 spinach and mushroom mixture and 1/4 of the shredded smoked Gouda. Drizzle with 1/2 cup cheese sauce.
Place another portion of freshly rolled lasagna noodles on top, then 1/3 spinach mushroom mixture, 1/4 of smoked Gouda and top off with 1/2 cup cheese sauce. Repeat this layer process one more time and then top with the final portion of lasagna noodles. Gently pour remaining cheese sauce over the top and sprinkle last bit of smoked Gouda on top.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes until edges are beginning to brown and cheese sauce is bubbling. If desired, turn broiler to high and broil 2-3 minutes to brown cheese even more.
Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
Yield: 8-10 servings
For Whole Wheat Version: Replace all-purpose flour in cheese sauce with equal parts whole wheat flour. Replace semolina flour in pasta dough with equal parts whole wheat durum flour.
For Home Milling: Use Durum Wheat. Since freshly ground flour is more aerated than store-bought flour, you may need to decrease water by 1 Tbsp. in pasta dough recipe if using freshly ground flour.