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Lasagna Bianca

Like many of you, I adore a good plate of lasagna. It’s a beautifully textured comfort food and just plain tastes good. Unlike many of you, the thrill of a steaming tray of lasagna being pulled from the oven is NOT a childhood memory for me. Growing up on Betty Crocker casserole recipes in a waspy household, I did not discover the joys of this layered pasta dish until well into my 20’s. Once I had my first forkful, however, there was no turning back.

The way it ooozed creamy ricotta was positively hedonistic! And then there was that melted layer of mozzarella that lay over the top like a lead canopy, rivulets of melted fat drizzling over the pungent marinara sauce that enveloped it all. And holding the fortress together was PASTA in long starchy ribbons that buttressed every layer of meat or cheese, as the case may be. Since it was labor-intensive, some of my favorites were the frozen varieties during my eating days. And since there was never enough of a cheese canopy for my liking, I always made sure to have an auxiliary bag of shredded mozz at the ready.

Ahhh the days of numbing my feelings with food. How I don’t miss them. Yeah the stuff tasted good. But it kept me in an existential coma: one that included rock-bottom energy levels and moods that vacillated between momentary highs from the food and a baseline miserable irritability that everyone around me had to live with.

Those days are gone, and so is my affiliation with traditional lasagna. I’ve cleaned up both my coping mechanisms and list of ingredients considerably. Including the employment of eggplant slices instead of gluten-free pasta.  Be my guest if you prefer the pasta but I conserve carbs wherever and whenever I can.



Like the original version, this lasagna is labor-intensive, but oh-so-worth-it! As Chef Bill and I crafted this one evening, it just seemed to lend itself to creamy white Bianca, which, in Italian cuisine parlance, simply means omitting the marinara and letting the cheese shine on its own. There are three kinds here: Chevre (soft goat) in place of ricotta; shredded Manchego (filling in for the mozzarella); and Peccorino (a dead-ringer for Parmesan).

 

 

This particular version is for 1 or 2, and fits nicely in a bread loaf pan. After you do a test run and it turns out the whole family likes it, by all means, double it and expand it out to its rightful home – a great big lasagna tray, as my friend who was raised in Little Italy used to say.

Buon Appetito!

 

Creamy bechamel, before baking…





Lasagna Bianca
Print Recipe
A creamy white lasagna that's cow-dairy-free!
Servings Prep Time
2 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Lasagna Bianca
Print Recipe
A creamy white lasagna that's cow-dairy-free!
Servings Prep Time
2 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 medium eggplant sliced lengthwise in 1/4-inch slices
  • 2 eggs well beaten
  • 1 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs
  • Grapeseed or Light Olive Oil for frying
  • 8-10 slices hard goat cheese Available at Trader Joe's or specialty food stores
  • OR 2 cups Manchego cheese shredded
  • 3/4 pound ground beef or sausage cooked, drained, and cooled
  • 2 4.5-ounce containers Trader Joe's Creamy Goat Cheese room temperature, if possible
  • 2 tablespoons Peccorino cheese
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons fresh oregano
  • OR 1 teaspoon dried oregano
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Place eggplant slices on a layer of paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Top with another layer of towel and let moisture drain for at least 10 minutes. Blot well with more dry towels as the final step. Heat oil in wok or skillet, so oil is about a ½ inch deep. Heat well over medium-high heat. While oil heats, dip eggplant slices in egg wash, and then bread crumbs. You’ll probably only be able to fry two or three pieces at a time. Fry at least three minutes per side, until brown and crisp. When cooked, place eggplant slices on clean paper towels, letting excess oil absorb.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, blend chevre, the two beaten eggs, and black pepper with a whisk until smooth and creamy. The texture should be smooth and pudding-like.
  3. Preheat oven to 330 degrees. Spray pan with non-stick cooking spray. Layer ingredients in a bread loaf pan beginning with an eggplant slice, followed by beef, chevre sauce, and a slice of hard cheese. Continue layering until pan is filled (it’s OK if the lasagna rises above pan level). Be sure to end with a layer of chevre sauce followed by hard cheese. Sprinkle the final layer of chevre sauce with oregano before placing the final layer of hard cheese over the top. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until bubbly. Serve immediately.
  4. You will probably have a few leftover eggplant slices. I like to save them for eggplant ‘toast,’ served with eggs.
Recipe Notes

Clean, creamy perfection...

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Comments (2)

  • Sandra 8 months ago Reply

    Looks and sounds fantastic! Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe!

  • Dory Morris 6 months ago Reply

    OMG!!! This looks and sounds so amazing. I would PAY you to airmail me a pan….

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