Deconstructed No Noodle Lasagna

by

Deconstructed No Noodle Lasagna

by

I developed this recipe for “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Pasta,” my first online cooking class, and I wonder how on earth I lived without this recipe before. It’s the perfect meal for the meat sauce lover. You get all of the rich goodness of an Italian ragù di carne without any of the heavy feeling afterwards. That said, I leave it up to you how much mascarpone you add. More mascarpone means more richness, while less means a lighter belly. Believe me, the first time I made this, I only used a touch of mascarpone, and it was still one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten. That said, if you want to bulk it up and you don’t have dairy sensitivities as I do, then by all means, add more.

Serves 6 to 8 

  • Ragù di Carne (Easier Variation), see below
  • ⅓ to ½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 4 to 8 ounces mascarpone
  • Grilled Eggplant (See below)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Spoon a quarter of the sauce on the bottom of a medium casserole dish. Lightly sprinkle the grated cheese from end to end, and dot with a quarter of the mascarpone. Now cover with a single layer of the eggplant.
  3. Repeat that same pattern until you have 3 total layers of eggplant and 4 total layers of meat sauce. (Remember to save the last quarter of sauce, some Parmigiano, and mascarpone for the top!)
  4. Add the remaining sauce, grated cheese, and mascarpone to the top layer.
  5. Bake in the oven, uncovered, until the oil has begun to bubble on the edges, about 45 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool. Eat while warm or at room temperature. Store leftovers in the fridge. 

 

Ragù di Carne (Easier Variation) 

  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1⅓ pounds ground beef (around 85% lean, 15% fat)
  • ¾ cup red wine
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 10 basil leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
  • 50 grinds of pepper mill
  • ⅓ nutmeg, freshly grated
  1. Place a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat and let it get hot for a couple of minutes.
  2. Add the butter and olive oil to the pan, immediately followed by the onion, carrot, and celery. Sauté the soffritto until the vegetables are softened and turning very golden in color, 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Add the beef and stir with a wooden spoon until it is browned all over.
  4. Add the wine and let it cook until it has evaporated, another 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Briefly pulse the tomatoes in a food processor or blender, or crush them well with your hands. Add them to the meat and mix well.
  6. Add the basil, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir to combine. Decrease the heat to medium, and continue to cook until the sauce is well reduced and has no watery liquid left. Once the red of the tomatoes has turned dark brown, the sauce should be at the height of its deliciousness. This takes about an hour. 

 

Grilled Eggplant 

I love grilled eggplant because it can be used like a bread or pasta, but without the extra carbs. I love to wrap it around burrata for Grilled Eggplant and Burrata Involtini, use it in Tamburello di Melanzane, and layer it for No-Noodle Lasagna. Contrary to what many cookbooks will instruct you, I don’t salt and drain my eggplant first. I’ve never found it necessary.

Makes 15 to 18 slices

  • 3 large eggplants
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Light an indoor grill pan on medium-high heat or place a heavy pan over medium-high heat and let it get hot for 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. Cut off the top and bottom of each eggplant so it can stand up. Slice the skin off of the right side and the left side. Now, one pair of the eggplant’s opposing sides will have skin, and the other will not.
  3. Cut the eggplant into vertical strips, ¼ to ½-inch thick, beginning where you have removed the skin, so each piece has a little skin on the sides.
  4. Use a silicone brush to coat the front and back of each slice generously with the olive oil, and then place as many eggplants on the grill as you can without them overlapping.
  5. Cook until the eggplant has beautiful golden grill marks and flip.
  6. Once the eggplant has nice grill marks on the second side and is floppy when you pick a side up with your tongs, it is done. Remove from the grill and continue until you are finished with all the pieces.

 

Make Ahead Prep:

You can make the sauce and grill the eggplant 1 to 3 days in advance. Just note that if you are taking the ingredients from the cold fridge, they may need more time in the oven.

Reposted from Elana Horwich’s Meal and a Spiel: How to Be a Badass in the Kitchen

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