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Medieval Lasagna – one of my favorite uses for homemade garden fresh tomato sauce

I grow a ton of tomatoes every year and make a lot of tomato sauce. I am always on the lookout for different and interesting recipes. I found a very unique one which uses Medieval lasagna noodles with modern tomato sauce. What makes a noodle Medieval? These lasagna noodles are made with yeast giving them a distinctive "puffiness" not typically found in modern pasta. It also gives them a "yeasty" bread-like flavor not normally found in lasagna, which I absolutely loved. Then again, I love bread so how could I go wrong with these noodles?

The article I found with the recipe said that Medieval pasta dough was naturally fermented over a long period of time. Of course this would be the case, since commercial yeast has only been around for 100 years or so. The article gives a recipe using commercial yeast, which I made and loved. I decided to then make it using my sourdough starter that I have on hand at all times in the fridge. The pasta was outstanding! The difference in flavor is that of a sourdough compared to a regular white bread. I will say that even though I found this recipe when searching for tomato sauce uses, the sourdough noodles go better with a mild cream sauce. They are so strong in flavor that the tomato sauce competes instead of complimenting. But the pasta made with commercial yeast is quite good with tomato sauce.


The first known reference to lasagna dates way back to Medieval Italy. It was quite a bit different from the well-known dish of today. For starters, there were no tomatoes in Italy at that time and therefore there could be no tomato sauce. Instead the noodles were simply topped with grated hard cheeses and spices. The second large difference is in the noodles themselves. They were cut into squares, about 2 inches by 2 inches. And the dough that produces the noodles was quite different from modern pasta dough. It was fermented with naturally occurring yeasts just as breads of the time were, also referred to as naturally leavened. This gives the lasagna noodles a much different texture due to the gasses produced during the rising process. There are also complex flavors developed during this fermentation process.

Now I understand most people are not willing to create a historically accurate version of this, especially since it takes months to cultivate a proper fermented starter dough. However, I must say, the results are unique and impressive. So I have come up with a recipe that uses modern dried yeast to provide leavening. Although the complexity of flavor that comes with a long-term fermentation can not be duplicated, it does give the pasta the same unique texture.

I do encourage you to try these noodles simply dressed with some of the boiled pasta water, grated cheese and spices. But the recipe that follows is a blend of old and new. It uses a modern tomato sauce and cooks up perfectly in your toaster oven. The close proximity of a toaster oven's heating elements perfectly browns the gooey cheese.

Ingredients

1.5 cups of all-purpose flour

1/2 cup of warm (but not hot) water

1/2 teaspoon of sea salt

1 teaspoon of active dry yeast

1 jar of your favorite jarred or homemade tomato sauce

1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese

Directions

Combine the yeast and water in a large mixing bowl. Set aside for ten minutes to allow the yeast to "wake up." Add the flour and sea salt and stir well. Knead until elastic; this should take about fifteen minutes by hand or three minutes in a stand mixer or food processor fitted with a dough blade. Return the dough to the mixing bowl and cover with a towel. Leave in a warm, dark place until doubled in size; this should take about an hour.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Place the dough on a well-floured board and gently roll it until it is the thickness of a nickel. Dust with flour, then cut into 2 inch squares with either a pizza cutter or chef's knife. Boil, stirring constantly, until the pasta squares rise to the top of the pot.

Place 1/3 of the noodles into a greased baking dish. Top with 1/3 of the jar of sauce followed by 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat this procedure twice, then top with the parmesan cheese.

Heat your toaster oven to 350 degrees F. Bake until the cheese melts and the lasagna is thoroughly heated; this should take about 40 minutes.

Visit Toaster Oven Reviews to find the best toaster oven for making Medieval Lasagna and so much more. You will find thousands of unbiased toaster oven reviews as well as a helpful toaster oven buying guide.

1 comment to Medieval Lasagna – one of my favorite uses for homemade garden fresh tomato sauce

  • Val

    This sounds great, will give it a go 🙂
    Shame I can't share to FB or pin interest though, would love to share!

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Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.