Extra time:30min freezing ›
To prepare homemade lasagne:
- Pour the semolina flour on to a clean working surface and make a well in the centre of the mound. Pour a little stream of water with one hand and mix the semolina and water with your other hand until it forms a sticky but compact dough. Add more water if needed. Knead vigorously with you hands, folding the dough and stretching it, until smooth and not sticky, about 10 minutes. To make sure the dough is ready, slice it in half with a sharp knife: the dough should be compact and uniform without any holes. Wrap in cling film and set aside for 30 minutes. No need to chill.
- Roll out the dough: Set your pasta machine on the widest setting. Slice the dough into 6 or 7 pieces; pass the first piece through the pasta machine, by gently turning the handle. You'll get a long and uneven sheet. Dust with more semolina, fold in 2 lenghtwise. Pass though the machine again and again, folding the sheet each time, until you get a smooth and fairly even sheet. Dust with a little semolina if gets sticky. Set aside and roll out the remaining pieces.
- Dust a clean tablecloth with semolina or set up a pasta dryer. Set the pasta machine to the middle setting and pass the sheet through. Cut the long strip in half (so it's easier to handle) and pass each half in the last and narrowest setting on the machine. You'll get a long and thin sheet. Cut the fresh lasagne sheets to fit the size of your baking dish and place on the tablecloth or hang on the pasta dryer. Repeat with the remaining dough. Let it stand 30 minutes to 1 hour before using.
To prepare bechamel sauce:
- In a saucepan over medium heat melt the butter and stir in the flour. Mix vigorously with a whisk so that no lumps are formed. Pour in the milk and cook over medium heat until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Stir occasionally with a whisk to avoid lumps. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Remove sauce from heat and set aside.
To preparare the filling:
- In a large bowl mix ricotta, ham, egg, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Mix all the ingredients with a fork until well combined. Cover with cling film and refrigerate.
To assemble and cook lasagne:
- Preheat oven 200 C / Gas 6.
- Use a ladle to pour a layer of bechamel sauce over the bottom of a 20x30cm baking dish. Lay enough lasagne sheets side by side on top and cover with 1/3 of the ricotta filling, 1/4 of cubed mozzarella, a generous sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese and 1 ladleful of bachamel sauce. Repeat the layers finishing with bechamel sauce and an even layer of grated Parmesan cheese on top.
- Bake the lasagne in preheated oven for 40 minutes or until the pasta is fully cooked and the top is golden brown. To reach a nice golden colour, you can cook it under the grill for the last 5 minutes.
- Remove from oven, cover with foil and let stand for 10 to 20 minutes before slicing and serving.
In order for the pasta dough not to be stiff, you will need finely ground semolina, usually imported from Italy. It has kind of a powdery texture. If you cannot find it, use regular semolina and mix with 2/3 regular flour. In this recipe, for example, use 150g of semolina and 350g plain flour (better if 00).
If you are using bought fresh lasagne sheets:
Cook sheets in a large pot with salted boiling water for 1 minute. Drain the lasagne sheets and pass quickly under cold water to stop the cooking process. Lay them on a tea towel and pat dry. If you are using dried lasagne sheets, follow the cooking time indicated on the packet.
Lasagne is tastier if allowed to stand for 10 or 20 minutes before serving. This gives the pasta time to "relax" and absorb the sauce. You can prepare lasagne well in advance (up to 2 days), cool to room temperature, then cover with foil and refrigerate. A quick heat up before serving and your lasagne will be perfect!