In Part 1 we made spinach pasta, which is used for many dishes, not just this one.
In Part 2 we made the sauces and finally, now we are assembling the dish and baking!
The spinach pasta dough now needs to be rolled out, blanched and then cooled in ice water before assembly. You can use a rolling pin to roll out the sheets of pasta, or you can use a pasta roller. I used a pasta roller this time. Basically you want to roll out about 20 ounces of the pasta out as thinly as possible. As the pasta gets thinner, of course it also gets longer. I cut my strips in half when they start to get unmanageably long. Place all of the pasta sheets on floured linen towels. You can flour the counter instead, but that is a lot messier.
In a large wide pot, get the water boiling and add a generous pinch of salt. Slide a strip of pasta in and if you have room a second strip, but no more than that. Have a roasting pan or shallow bowl ready with ice water. Spinach pasta cooks quickly. Within about one minute, it should be done. Using a slotted spoon or spider, gently remove the pasta from the cooking water and plunge into the ice water just like a Swede coming out of a Sauna and jumping into a cold plunge.
Pick up the cooled pasta sheets and allow excess water to drain off and then place on towels again to dry a bit.
You will need:
- 1 recipe fresh spinach pasta
- A double recipe of besciamella
- 4 Cups Ragu Bolognese
- 2-3 tablespoons of butter for the baking pan
- 2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 4 cups of low-moisture mozzarella shredded or sliced very thinly
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees
The first two sheets of pasta are going to form a strong base for the dish. A thin layer of the sauces and cheeses separate the pasta sheets so that they do not get gummy. After you have made the base, you will make three filling layers with plentiful amounts of the sauces and cheeses, then the last layers of pasta are again thinly dressed.
Coat the bottom and sides of the dish thinly with Besciamella. Apply 1/3 cup of Bolognese on the bottom over the Besciamella. Drape the pasta sheets the length of the pan so that they cover it completely, allowing the excess to hang over the edge of the pan.
- Spread 1/3 cup of the Besciamella over the pasta.
- Spread 1/3 cup of Bolognese over the Besciamella
Drape the next layer of pasta sheets perpendicular to the first, across the width of the pan, allowing the excess to lay on each side of the pan evenly (should be about 6" on each side.
- Spread 2/3 cup of Besciamella over the pasta
- Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the Parm over the sauce
- Spread 1 cup of Bolognese in a thick layer
- Top with 1/3 of the Mozzarella
Add another layer of pasta, but this time trim the sheets to fit the pan. and replicate the steps above to create another thick layer of filling.
Make another layer of trimmed pasta sheets and fill with a final thick filling layer.
Arrange another trimmed layer of pasta over the final filling layer.
- Spread 1/3 cup Besciamella on the layer of pasta
- Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of Parm all over
- Repeat with a final layer of pasta, then besciamella and then the 3 tablespoons more of Parm.
Fold all of the overhanging flaps of pasta over on to to the pasticcata. If they do not meet and cover the top, add an additional piece to cover. Spread the remaining Besciamella and Bolognese on and top with the remaining Parm.
At this point, you can cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator or you may bake it right away. Before you put the pasticcata in the oven, tear a long sheet of foil to form a tent over the pan. Arch the foil over the pan so that it does not touch the cheese. Pierce the foil in a few places to vent any steam.
Set the pan on a baking sheet and then into a 350 degree oven and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the pan on the baking sheet from the oven to remove the foil and then return to the oven for about 20 minutes, until the top is deeply colored and crispy. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for another 20 minutes to firm up.
Cut into squares and serve.