Saturday, November 11, 2017

Lasagna Blanca









Lasagna Blanca with Garlicky, Creamy, Cheesy Herbal Sauce


I was going to make large pasta shells stuffed with a ricotta, cheesy, garlicky sausage filling but changed my mind to lasagna. I will tell you why shortly.  Lasagna, in a large pan or small one, like the 8" by 8" I used, is a wonderful, hearty and easy lunch treat, easily sliced and packaged.  I have been a little under the weather lately due to sinus pressure and so was not in the mood to prep onions and things that required a lot of prep, though I did use lasagna noodles one boils, rather than the ready to use noodles.  I also wanted to share my bechamel sauce scheme to make life easier to layer the dish, as well, a little unorthodox, but easy and just as flavorful.  

Shall we get started on this splendid pantry meal?  

Being that this is a pantry meal recipe, please do not think you have to follow it exactly.  I was not feeling up to chopping onion and basil leaves and the like, so I used many dried, powdered spices and dried onion bits.  If I had been feeling just fine, I would be more than thrilled to use all fresh aromatics and herbs.  So in trying to repair my dignity, I did use fresh oregano and thyme. 

Ingredients List
1 pound Italian Turkey Sausage
2 cups ricotta cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups of buttermilk
3-4 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup chardonnay
7 sprigs fresh thyme
7 sprigs fresh oregano
1 level tablespoon of smoked paprika
1 tablespoon and 1/2 tbspn Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tabs butter
salt and pepper, 1/4 teaspoon each
1 rounded tablespoon dried onion bit or, 1 medium onion, chopped
1.5 tablespoons minced garlic, fresh or jarred

Bring a large pot with 4 quarts of well-salted water to a roiling boil and boil 10-12 lasagna noodles. 


Line one 8" x 8" pan with foil and rub with extra virgin olive oil, or spry with non-stick spray. Add three or four tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to a large, high-sided skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the sausage and seasonings except half a tablespoon of Italian seasoning. Crumble thoroughly and cook thoroughly.  Remove the turkey sausage with a spider and try to keep the renderings in the high-sided skillet.  


Remove the turkey sausage and reserve the renderings. 


Add the butter to the skillet over medium-high heat and melt.  Add the buttermilk, garlic, wine and flour and the remaining seasonings.  I added a few more fresh leaves of thyme and oregano, too.  This step is in place of making the roux in a traditional manner. Use a whisk to make sure the flour does not clump.  I am not a fan of heavy cream or half and half, so I prefer to use buttermilk.  Also an ancient family secret. You use whatever you prefer, which is great! I love making recipes my own, and I love when people make my recipes their own, changing it up to meet their palettes. 

Now, reduce the heat when the mixture beings to boil and thicken to medium heat.  It will continue to bubble, but on a lesser scale. 




The roux will start to thicken as you stir, and the aroma will be incredible!

Now, add a quarter of the cheeses to the mixture (like you would for mac and cheese) and incorporate thoroughly.  



Add some of the garlicky, cheesy mixture to the bottom of the foil-lined pan and place overlapping layers of noodles across the pan, three or four. Add cheese atop the noodles.  Add more of the roux atop that.  Repeat until you have used up the twelve noodles.  I left them longer than the pan and folded them inward to keep the cheese in rather than cutting them off.  I knew that it would be a really full pan.  I knew the baking process would also diminish some of the height.  You do what feels bests for you!

Now, top the lasagna blanca with parmesan and more Italian seasoning and fresh herbs if you have any remaining.  Bake at 375-degrees f for thirty minutes. The top will get golden brown and smell insanely delicious whilst it bakes!



Let cool about twenty minutes, at least, to allow the cheeses to "set" or harden a little so it does not ooze all over.  But what a delicious ooze!

Serve with whatever sides you wish!  See my personal Caprese served in ramekins for a salad idea in my next blog post!  

Thank You, as always, for your time and consideration, friends!  I am grateful that you stopped by!

~Martin
In-House Cook