Homemade lasagne pasta sheets (lasagna)
Everybody loves a good baked lasagna (lasagne al forno to the Italians). And, here on The Pasta Project there is a growing number of delicious baked lasagna recipes (yes there are different ways to make it!). However, making lasagne al forno with homemade lasagne pasta is pretty unbeatable!
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Baked lasagna around Italy.
Baked lasagna is a classic dish in most Italian regions. However, the recipe varies from region to region. In Northern Italy, they make it with fresh or dried egg pasta. Usually, the other ingredients are a classic Bolognese sauce or meat ragu, Parmigiano Reggiano or grana cheese and bechamel .
In Emilia-Romagna, they often use green lasagne pasta sheets, made with spinach. A great favourite of mine for baked lasagna from Emilia-Romagna is baked pasta roses or swallow’s nests (nidi di rodine) (see link below). In this dish, the lasagne sheets are rolled with ham and cheese and sometimes other ingredients inside them and then baked covered in bechamel. I have made this recipe with homemade lasagne and boy is it good!
In Naples, Neapolitan lasagna, a typical carnival dish, is prepared with Neapolitan ragu, meatballs, cow’s ricotta, provola and pecorino cheese. Interestingly, the lasagne in the south is often dried and made without egg.
In some Italian mountain areas, they substitute the ragu or meat sauce with mushrooms. Whereas, they sometimes use pesto instead of ragu in Liguria, and in Veneto, red radicchio from Treviso.
In Umbria and in Marche, there is a particular version called ‘vincisgrassi’ in which the ragu is enriched with chicken or pork offal. In the Apennines, the ragu is replaced by a filling of porcini, truffles and pecorino and in Sicily, there is also the ‘alla Norma’ version with eggplants. Or, they add boiled eggs to the dish.
Not all Italian recipes for ‘lasagne al forno’ contain tomatoes. In fact, there are many ‘white’ recipes too. Italians say ‘lasagna bianca’. A ‘white’ lasagna I particularly love comes from Puglia. It’s made with mushrooms and burrata (see link below). Believe me when I say, it’s amazingly delicious. Plus, there’s no meat included, perfect for vegetarians too!
Here in Northern Italy, people also call these dishes (red and white) ‘pasticcio’. However, although pasticcio has layers of pasta with various fillings baked in the oven, it isn’t always with lasagne sheets.
Making homemade lasagne pasta is easy!
Fresh lasagne sheets are available to buy throughout Italy. But, the absolute best is homemade lasagne. It’s actually pretty easy to make, with or without a pasta machine. Why not give it a try next time you want to make a baked lasagna? I’m sure once you’ve done it, you’ll want to do it again and again! There really is quite a difference in the taste of homemade pasta and store bought, even if the latter is fresh!
Do you need to precook fresh lasagne?
When making your baked lasagna dish you can either precook the pasta for a couple of minutes in boiling salted water before assembling the dish or use it raw. In the latter case, the sauce needs to be a little more liquidy. I usually don’t precook fresh pasta.
If you do try making your own homemade lasagne, I’d love to hear how it turns out. Please, write a comment here on the blog or post a comment on the Pasta Project Facebook page.
Your feedback means a lot to me!
Recipes on The Pasta Project for your homemade lasagne pasta.
(just click on the name of the recipe to go to that page)
- Lasagne al forno with Bolognese from Emilia-Romagna
- Radicchio pasticcio (Italian chicory lasagna) from Veneto
- Baked lasagna alla Norma from Sicily
- Baked pasta roses from Emilia-Romagna
- Lasagna bianca with mushrooms and burrata from Puglia
- Italian lamb lasagna
- Poached salmon and asparagus lasagna
- Lasagna baked in broth from Molise
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Homemade lasagne/lasagna pasta
- 400 g Italian soft wheat flour '00' (14oz) All purpose flour can be used too.
- 4 eggs large
- 1 pinch salt
- To make the pasta, mound your flour on a large wooden board. Make a well in the center and add a pinch of salt.
- Break the eggs into the well and whisk them a little ( you can also beat eggs in a small bowl and then add to flour or start by mixing flour and eggs together in a bowl and then turn out onto a board to knead)
- Start to incorporate the eggs and flour by slowly bringing more flour in from the inside edges of the well. You can use a fork or scraper for this.
- Continue mixing the flour with the eggs until they are no longer runny.
- Using your hands now, bring the outside edges in, forming a large mass on your board.
- Begin to knead the dough as you would bread, pushing it down with the heel of your hand.
- Continue kneading for about 7-10 minutes. Knead until the pasta dough is smooth, elastic, and just slightly tacky. You can dust the dough with more flour if it’s too sticky, but try not to add too much additional flour or the pasta will be tough.
- Roll the dough into a ball and wrap it in cling film and let it sit for about 30 minutes.
- Cut off 1/6 of the dough, re-wrap the rest in cling film so it doesn’t dry out and roll out the piece you cut off until it is flat enough that you can pass it through a pasta machine if you are using one.
- I used my pasta machine to roll out the sheets, first 3-4 times on number 6 or 7 on the dial (widest setting) and then a couple of times more on number 4. Each time you pass the dough through the machine fold it first into thirds and pass it through again until it comes out with the right thickness and length. If you want even thinner sheets you can also pass the dough through again on number 2 or 3. Cut the sheet to the length you want.
- If you aren’t using a machine you need to keep rolling out the dough until it is thin enough to almost see your fingers through it. Then cut the sheet to the size you want.
- Transfer the ready sheets to a drying rack while you prepare the rest. Repeat with the remaining dough. (the lasagne can be stored, when completely dry and stiff, for up to 1 week). If you don't have a drying rack see recipe notes.
Pin for Later
New recipes for homemade pasta sheets you will love.
I’ve just posted (March 27th 2020) a great recipe for homemade pasta sheets that you should check out! Baked fazzoletti from Abruzzo
Also worth trying is this recipe from Liguria for silk handkerchief pasta squares with pesto. Just cut your pasta sheets into squares instead of rectangles! Silk handkerchief pasta with pesto.
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Gord Power says
Will you recipe produce enough pasta for a 3 layer lasagna in a 9 x 14 pan. I use a Mercato Atlas 150 pasta machine. Thanks
Hi Gord, thanks for your comment. Yes this recipe should make enough pasta sheets for the lasagna you want. Of course, it depends on how thin you make the sheets but you should be able to make plenty for that size.
Thanks for the recipe!
I’ve decided I’ll be making this and adding it to the lasagna without pre-boiling (will make sure it’s saucy!). I wanted to ask: how long do you usually bake your lasagna for?
Lasagna recipes in the internet vary wildly, from as little as 15 min to almost an hour! There’s no point in making wonderful fresh lasagna pasta if I then serve it raw or too mushy! Can you give us an idea of how long you’d bake it in the oven?
Hi Walter, thanks for your comment. As per my recipe for a classic lasagna with Bolognese https://www.the-pasta-project.com/lasagne-al-forno-with-bolognese, I usually cook it for about 30 minutes if using fresh sheets or par-boiled dried sheets. However, the time can depend on the thickness of your pasta, the number of layers in the dish and your oven! I doubt it would be ready in less than 30 minutes but I suggest you check it at around 25 minutes to see if the pasta is cooked. Lasagna needs to sit for 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving and the pasta will also continue to cook during that time.
I’ve made lasagna sheets from scratch a few times now and I’ve recently done your recipe, but it has always come out very pliable/delicate and stretchy? I feel like it should be firmer so I’m not sure what I keep doing wrong. Any advice?
Hi Alex, thanks for your comment. Fresh pasta is usually quite soft and pliable. It becomes firmer as it drys but you can make lasagna or other dishes with the pasta whilst it’s still soft. Just cook it for less time so it doesn’t get mushy.
I’m excited to make some pasta sheets. I have a pasta roller. Do you think it’s possible to successfully join the approx. 4″ rolled sheets to make a larger sheet for pinwheel lasagna? I’m thinking of joining the sheets with slightly dampened edges and perhaps hand rolling them to “glue” them and thin out the joint. Clear as mud?
Hi Dami, thanks for your comment. Since you are planning to make pinwheels I think joining two sheets of pasta as you described would work. When I want larger sheets I actually either roll the dough out on a pastry board with a rolling pin, without using the roller, and then cut to the size I want. Or, I roll thicker sheets through the machine and then roll them out more using a rolling pin. You could try those methods too!
Thanks for your quick response, Jacqui.
I am making a meat lasagna for Christmas and would like to make it in advance. Would it be ok to make my fresh lasagna noodles with my Kitchenaid attachment, assemble the lasagna using cold meat and sauce and then refrigerate uncooked for 2 days? I would remove from fridge and let it come to room temperature before baking on Christmas day. Also, what rack position, oven temperature and how long do you recommend baking for a large , dense lasagna?
Thanks for your comment Diane, To be honest, I’ve never prepared a homemade lasagna 2 days in advance but I would assume it’s possible. I know Italians who do that. It’s important that everything is cold.
Thanks for the recipe, I also learned to make lasagna pasta today
I found the dough too stiff with only the eggs supplying the liquid portion of the recipe. I also have arthritic hands and use a bread machine for kneading. It was too stiff for the machine to knead. Hope it did not ruin it.
Hi Angie, thanks for your comment. It’s difficult to know why your dough was so stiff. 1 egg for every 100g (3.5oz) of flour is the standard ratio for fresh pasta here in Italy, although some types of egg pasta also have some wine or oil in the dough. Perhaps your eggs were small? or the type of flour different to Italian ’00’ soft wheat flour which is what Italian mostly use? I hope your lasagne turned out okay.
Annie Joetta says
I’m making this for the holidays. Please tell me if the leftovers of the lasagna be frozen???
Hi Annie, thanks for your comment. If you are referring to leftover lasagna (the dish) yes it can be frozen, although personally I find frozen cooked pasta can be a little mushy when reheated. Having said that lots of people do freeze it. Leftover or extra lasagne sheets can also be frozen and used at a later date. Do let me know how your lasagna turns out. Happy holidays!
how long do you let your lasagna sheets dry for before you can start to assemble the lasagna
Hi Carol, there’s no hard and fast rule about how long to dry lasagne sheets. I usually like to use them while they are still pretty fresh and soft as I don’t like to precook them. So I make the pasta either just before making the other ingredients like the ragu or whilst the ragu is simmering. Then, when everything is ready I assemble and bake.
Bob O'Fee says
I love to make my own pasta–spaghetti, linguine tagliatelle, etc–the problem is that when I dry them on a rack they always crack and fall off. I can make them in nests; but I need flour to keep the nest from sticking. What thoughts have you on drying long spaghetti-like pasta?. Thank you.
Hi Bob, thanks for your comment. I think the best way to dry homemade spaghetti is to lay the strands a little spread apart on a floured sheet of baking paper. Dried spaghetti is usually sold in long packets rather than nests. However, dried spaghetti doesn’t have eggs and is made with semolina flour so it is less delicate than egg noodles.
This is a pretty good recipe, but even though i used the same flour and salt measurements I ended up having to use 7 eggs and a tablespoon of water to make this come together enough to resemble a pasta dough
Hi Chrissy, thanks for your comment. It’s difficult to know why you needed so many eggs. 1 egg for every 100g (3.5oz) of flour is the standard ratio for fresh pasta here in Italy, although some types of egg pasta also have some wine or oil in the dough. Perhaps your eggs were small? or the type of flour different to Italian ’00’ soft wheat flour which is what Italian mostly use? Anyway I’m glad your lasagne turned out okay.