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Monday, July 7, 2014


Posted by Bryna Bear aka Gluten Free Baking Bear

     I am just too susceptible to food photos and talk.  I was reading a menu on-line from an Italian restaurant in Manhattan that makes everything on their regular menu into a gluten free version.  The hundred-layer lasagna caught my fancy.  Is it really a hundred layers...what type of flour do they use in their pasta...does it taste like real pasta...etc.?  Then the lasagna wheels were turning in my head and by the end of the week I just had to have lasagna.  
     I make my own spaghetti sauce and then freeze it, some in two-cup and some in four-cup portions, to use when I make pizza, pasta etc.  I learned how to make my sauce from a friend’s Italian mother (she called it gravy) and it is my favorite sauce.  The next time I make a batch (which will be soon as I used the last portion to make this lasagna) I will post the recipe.  You can also use a good sauce from a jar.  It has been years since I used a jar sauce, so I am not able to recommend one.
     Whoopi Goldberg always raved about Joy Behar’s lasagna.  I decided to try that recipe.  It is made with a sausage meat sauce.  If you want a vegetarian lasagna, leave out the meat or use a gluten free vegetarian meat alternative.  
     Usually, I make a tray of baked pasta or lasagna and freeze portions for later.  This came out so delicious that we ate (too large a portion of) it three days in a row for dinner and there were only two portions left to freeze.  This recipe definitely satisfied my lasagna craving.


2 Tbs.Olive Oil
1 cupOnion - chopped
2-6 clovesGarlic - crushed
1½ lbs.Sweet Italian Sausage - casings removed
28 oz. canCrushed Italian Tomatoes (or 4 cups of homemade or jarred spaghetti sauce)
6 oz. canTomato Paste (omit if using homemade or jarred sauce)
1/2 tsp.Dried Oregano - or more or less to taste
1/2 cupFresh Basil Leaves - chopped
1/4 cupFresh Parsley - chopped
1 tsp.Sea Salt (less or more to taste)
3/4 tsp.Pepper
1 BoxGluten Free Lasagna Noodles - (I love Tinkyada brand.)
1 Tbs.Olive Oil - to add to the noodle cooking water 
1 lb.Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
1 cupGrated Parmesan or Romano Cheese - divided
2 largeEggs
1 lb.Whole Milk Mozzarella Cheese - grated

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.  Position rack in the middle of the oven.
  2. Grease a 9x12x 2-inch pan.  Set aside.
  3. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the large pot (about 5 quarts) of boiling water and cook the noodles a few minutes less than the package directions.  The oil will keep the noodle from sticking together. You want the noodles a little undercooked, as the noodles will cook a bit more while baking.  They should be firm with a little chew when tested.  If cooked too long the noodles will be mushy and disintegrate after baking.  For example, if the package says to cook the noodles for 15-18 minutes, check the noodles after 10 minutes and every 1 minute after until the desired consistency is reached.  It may only take 12-15 minutes to reach the right texture.  When done, drain the noodles and rinse with cold water.  Spread out a piece of plastic wrap and lay out the noodles flat in a single layer to keep them from sticking to each other.
  4. In a large pan, heat the oil.  Add the chopped onions and sauté until clear, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the garlic and sauté another minute.
  6. Add the sausage and stir and break up the meat into smaller pieces with the spoon as you stir and mix it while cooking.
  7. Add the tomato paste and crushed tomatoes, basil and oregano and simmer for 20 minutes.  If using ready made sauce, add the sauce, oregano and basil and simmer about 5 minutes.
    Meat Sauce all cooked.
  8. While the sauce is simmering make the cheese filling.  In a large bowl add the ricotta cheese, 3/4 cup Parmesian or Romano cheese, beaten eggs, sea salt, pepper and parsley.  Mix well.  Set aside.
    Ricotta cheese filling.
  9. To assemble the lasagna, spread 1/4 of the sauce over the bottom of the 9x12-inch pan.  
    Sauce over bottom pan.  Some noodles on top beginning to make the first layer.
    Broken noodles & those with tears will be used on the bottom two layers.
  10. Using 1/3 of the noodles make a layer of noodles over the sauce, overlapping the edges of the noodles as needed.  Use the broken pieces of noodles on the first two layers, reserving the intact noodles for the top layer.  Next layer 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese over the noodles, then spread 1/2 of the ricotta cheese mixture over the mozzarella cheese layer.  Top this with 1/4 of the sauce.  Repeat this once more with a layer of noodles, cheeses and sauce.
    Spreading ricotta cheese mixture over the mozzarella cheese. 
  11. For the top.  Make a final layer of noodles with the remaining pasta.  Spread the remaining sauce on top.  Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of grated parmesian cheese and the remaining 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese.
    Lasagna on baking sheet ready to go into the oven.
  12. Place the pan on a large baking sheet to catch any spills.  Bake uncovered for 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling. 
  13. Allow the lasagna to sit for at least 1/2 hour until slightly cooled and set.  If cut while very hot the lasagna will ooze and spread.  If set and cooled, it will cut into neat portions.

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