A little over a year ago Mr.C decided that dairy wasn't an option in his diet any longer, and it's been gone since. That is until he tried goat's milk and realized that he didn't react the same way to it as he did to cows dairy. A lifesaver if you ask him... but nonetheless there are still lots of things we used to eat that we don't so much anymore as a result. For example, it's been some time since I made lasagna...
Actually that's not true. We tried this 9 layer lasagna a few months ago, and it was okay. I'm not sure I'd make it again though as the prep was fairly extensive given the end result. I used to make 2 or 3 lasagnas at a time a few times a year before, and with the snowy weather we've been having these past few days we're both finding that comfort food is just what the doctor ordered.
When I was growing up, my mom made lasagna similar to how I used to make mine. Layers of tomato & meat sauce, layers of spinach with parmesan & cottage cheese, and layers of shredded mozzarella (and noodles of course!) alternating. Exchange the noodles for gluten free, the mozza for daiya & the cottage cheese for.... ricotta and it's pretty close! I went to our health food store yesterday and bought seven liters of goat's milk. We usually get one a week...
And so, we made ricotta.
This was actually WAY easier than I ever could have thought possible. Ricotta isn't something that I normally buy, but based on the simple fact that I now know how to make it myself, I'll probably start using it more often! This was definitely the first time I actually used cheesecloth to make cheese- who knew?
To make the Ricotta you'll need:
2.5+ liters milk of choice (non-dairy probably isn't going to work, sorry)
1-2 tbsp white vinegar
measuring cups & spoons
strainer & bowl for underneath
Read this which was based off of this. Remember, this is not difficult!
If it doesn't work the first time, try it again. Using the teaspoon of vinegar suggested in the first link, ours didn't curdle. We added everything back into the pot along with an additional tablespoon of vinegar and it went smoothly the second time around. Don't dump your milk if you fail the first time!
What's left over (whey) is very nutritious and can be used in a multitude of recipes (but doesn't taste very good on its own!)
This fantastic lasagna was based on this recipe.
2 cups crumbled goats milk ricotta
3+ cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced thin
1 lb chicken sausage meat
1 jar pasta sauce of choice
1 cup crumbled goat cheese
1 cup "mozzarella" daiya
1 box gluten free lasagna noodles
While in Calgary over Christmas last month, we stopped by the new Calgary Farmers Market to visit The Missing Link Sausage Co. I had placed an order via email, so it was ready to pick up when we got there. Words don't do justice describing the product that they sell, so you're just going to have to go try it. We used "King & Thai" sausage meat in our lasagna.
In a medium sized bowl, mix ricotta with garlic, salt & pepper. Set aside.
Slice mushrooms into a small bowl & set aside. Note: you may saute these if you wish depending on your texture preference. I think the next time we make this we will cook them beforehand for a softer texture.
In a frying pan over medium heat, crumble sausage meat stirring frequently & breaking into small bits. Cook thoroughly.
While the sausage is cooking, boil a large pot of water for the lasagna noodles. Cook until al dente, about 10 minutes (depending on brand).
Spread 1/4 cup pasta sauce in the bottom of a 9"x13" "lasagna pan".
Place 3 noodles in the pan to make the first layer.
To the best of your abilities, "spread" 1/3 of ricotta over noodles. This is definitely a hands-on layer. We found it easiest to have one person deal with the cheese and one person do the rest. If you have a helper, take advantage!
Next sprinkle 1/3 of mushrooms, 1/3 of sausage and 1/3 of goat cheese. Repeat these layers (sauce, noodles, ricotta, mushrooms, sausage, goat cheese) until fillings are used up.
Top with remaining sauce, then with daiya.
Cover loosely with foil & bake at 350F, checking after 30 minutes. If your ricotta is still warm when you are using it in the dish, or if you have cooked the mushrooms the cooking time will be less than if these are cold. 40 minutes should do it otherwise. Take the foil off for the last few minutes of cooking to allow the daiya to melt.
Let stand 10 minutes if you can help yourself. It will be much easier to handle if you do.
Check out more allergy friendly recipes at this week's Allergy Free Wednesdays Bloghop!