Gus’ Very Special Lasagne
Serves 12 as pasta, 6-8 as an entrée.
Preparation: 1 hour, 15 minutes. Baking: 30 minutes.
Our hands-down favorite GF pasta company, Le Veneziane, doesn’t seem to offer a Lasagne noodle. (And none of our local markets offer Le Veneziane.) (Your best bet is to order a case from Amazon.) However, Tinkyada and DeBoles make reliable, user friendly, readily available GF Lasagne noodles, so they’re our go-to brands for this recipe.
Pasta: Enough noodles (6, 8, 9) for a two layer Lasagne. The size of your pan will determine this. I use 6 noodles for a 9 x 12 inch pan. Cook pasta in boiling salted water until not quite “al dente.” Drain, and keep in cold water until ready to use.
3 tablespoons virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
¾ cup finely chopped fennel or celery
¾ cup diced carrots (local, fresh, flavorful – ‘tis the season!)
Optional: ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley or carrot “fronds”/tops
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons dried Herbs de Provence or Italian Herbs
3 pounds tomatoes (7 large), peeled, seeded, chopped (or drained canned tomatoes)
1 teaspoon brown sugar
¼ teaspoon fresh grated pepper
sea salt to taste
½ pound ricotta cheese
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves or ½ cup cooked/drained spinach
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
pinch – 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 ounces grated mozzarella cheese
4 ounces grated teleme or fontina cheese
- Saute the onion, fennel, and carrots in the olive oil until slightly softened. Add the garlic and dried herbs, taking care not to burn the tender garlic. (It’s helpful to add the fresh chopped parsley or carrot tops at this time to protect and enhance the flavor of the garlic.) Add the tomatoes and brown sugar. Cook until quite thick (30 – 40 minutes.) Don’t have the time? Substitute 24-36 ounces of your favorite GF prepared tomato sauce. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Put the “Ricotta Filling” ingredients in a food processor. Pulse to incorporate the basil, then puree until blended.
- Lightly butter a 9 x 12 inch pan. In the following order layer: a little tomato sauce, half the noodles, half the remaining tomato sauce, 1/2 cup Parmesan, half the mozzarella, teleme, and ricotta. Repeat with the remaining noodes, sauce, ½ cup Parmesan, remaining mozzarella, teleme, ricotta, and Parmesan cheeses. Dot with butter. At this point the lasagne may be covered and refrigerated.
- From room temperature bake at 400 degrees, uncovered for 30 minutes or more until bubbly and lightly browned. Cool for 10-15 minutes to set before serving.
This freezes well, but I’ll be surprised if there is any left. I used to make enough to freeze individual portions, for storage in the dining hall kitchen at Gus’s school. The staff would heat it for his lunch on “Pasta” days. By the end of Gus’s high school career the hockey and lacrosse teams were requesting this dish for pre-game dinners.
Note: Most Herbs de Provence contains lavender blossoms, a wonderful aromatic addition to Italian cooking. Morton & Bassett makes an excellent blend.
And if you haven’t visited a specialty herb shop, hopefully there is a Penzey’s near you!