Lasagna

Sep. 2nd, 2014 04:55 am
rosefox: A cheerful chef made out of ginger. (cooking)
[personal profile] rosefox
Ingredients

1 box oven-ready gluten-free noodles
4 oz shredded fake mozzarella
5 oz baby spinach

Tomato sauce:
56 oz crushed tomatoes
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar or red wine
Fresh basil
Fresh oregano
Salt and pepper

Cashew ricotta:
4 cups (1 lb) cashews
Water
20 leaves fresh basil
Ground or freshly grated nutmeg
Salt

Turkey sausage:
2.5 lb ground turkey
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder (or 1/2 tsp minced garlic mashed into a paste)
1.25 tablespoons dried parsley
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 teaspoon ground fennel seed (or whole fennel seeds bashed with a hammer)
1/4 teaspoon brown sugar

Equipment

Oven
Nonstick 9" x 13" pan
Nonstick pot
Nonstick pan
Wooden spoon
Flipper-type spatula
Food processor with chopping blade (NOT a blender)
Scraper-type spatula
Measuring spoons and cups
Large bowl or measuring pitcher
Strainer

Instructions

0) Soak the cashews. Put the cashews in a large bowl or measuring pitcher. Add enough cold water to cover them and soak them for 3 to 8 hours, adding more water as necessary. If you forget to do this, soaking in hot water for 1 hour will do nearly as well.

1) Mise en place. Gather your ingredients and tools. Measure all the turkey seasonings into a single bowl and mix them together. Preheat the oven to the temperature indicated on the lasagna noodle package. If you plan to freeze the unbaked lasagna, line the pan with nonstick foil, leaving enough foil extending over the edge to be used as a handle.

2) Make the sauce. Pour the crushed tomatoes into a nonstick pot and heat over medium heat until simmering. Add olive oil, balsamic vinegar or red wine, fresh herbs, salt, pepper, etc. to taste. Simmer to allow flavors to marry and mellow.

3) Make the turkey. Put the ground turkey in a nonstick pan, add the turkey seasonings, and cook over medium-high heat, using a flipper-type spatula to break up larger chunks, until the meat is fully cooked and has the texture of crumbled sausage. Drain off any liquid. Add the turkey to the sauce and mix well. (Or, if you prefer, mix the turkey with the ricotta. Just don't try to add it as its own layer; the crumbled meat has no structural integrity.)

4) Make the ricotta. Drain the cashews and put them in the food processor with 0.5 cup cold water. Have at least another cup of water handy. Process the cashews until they have the texture of creamy ricotta, adding more water and scraping down the sides of the processor as necessary. When the right texture is achieved, add the basil leaves, plus nutmeg and salt to taste. Process just until all the ingredients are fully incorporated. Rinse out the bowl the cashews soaked in and scrape the ricotta into it.

5) Arrange the workspace. Next to the lasagna pan, place the pot of sauce, the box of noodles, the ricotta, and the box or bag of spinach. Ensure that you have at least 12 intact lasagna noodles, or enough large pieces to make 12. Broken noodles should go in the middle layers of the lasagna; use intact ones for the top and bottom.

6) Build the lasagna. Pour a full cup of sauce into the bottom of the pan. This seems like too much but it's not. Add a layer of 3 noodles, leaving a little space between them for them to expand as they cook. Build three strata as follows: one-third of the ricotta mixture, one-third of the spinach, 1.5 cups of sauce, 3 noodles. When this is done, pour 1.5 cups of sauce over the top, making sure that all exposed bits of noodle are covered in sauce. (They need the moisture of the sauce to cook, so this is very important.) Top with the shredded mozzarella.

7) Bake or freeze. If making right away, bake according to the noodle package directions. If freezing, freeze uncovered until firm, remove from the dish using the foil, and wrap tightly in two layers of plastic wrap. (If you get it before it's entirely frozen solid, you can cut it into individual servings that can be reheated one at a time; just make sure each serving is thoroughly wrapped.) Label and freeze for up to 1 month. Before cooking, remove entirely from plastic and place in a lightly oiled 9" x 13" dish. Thaw overnight in the fridge and bake at 350F for one hour or until the center reaches 175F.

7) Serve and store. Use a nonstick-safe brownie cutter to cut the lasagna. Leftovers keep in the fridge for 7 days if the lasagna was made right away or 5 days if it was frozen before cooking.

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