I’ve been wanting to try new things with the fresh milk we can get here, so I was looking up cheese recipes. Turns out ricotta cheese is quite easy and I was able to turn a whole gallon of milk into cheese and whey (I used this recipe). But then I had 3 cups or so of ricotta cheese. All I could think of was lasagna. My freezer is still full of marinara, so I thawed some of that and some beef and got to work.
I started with the noodles – zucchini for our grain-free appetites. I sliced them lengthwise added some salt and left them to dry out on a towel.
Meanwhile, I got the other layers ready. I browned the beef and added the marinara sauce then combined the ricotta cheese with some parmesan and egg.
Then I cooked the noodles a bit by browning them a bit in a dry skillet. This got the remaining moisture out and par-cooked them so they were ready for layering.
As I did the noodles, batch by batch I put them out on a clean tea towel again to dry, cool and I started layering.
The first layer is meat sauce, topped by noodles then covered with the ricotta mixture. This was the most difficult part, that cheese just did not want to spread. I kind of had to do it with a fork and my fingers, very carefully to not disturb the noodles. Of course it doesn’t have to be perfect because it will be covered up anyway, but I did my best.
Next, more sauce, more noodles, more cheese, until everything is used up. Finally, I topped it all off with mozzarella cheese and it was ready for the oven. It takes about 45 minutes at 375′
This is a great make ahead meal also, at this point it can go in the fridge and wait for later to be put into the oven.
Zucchini Noodle Lasagna (Grain-Free Lasagna)
4 medium sized zucchini
4 cups of your favorite marinara sauce (THIS is my favorite =)
1 lb ground beef
3 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese (or more if you’re a cheese-lover)
1. Wash and cut off ends of zucchini. Slice with mandolin or knife into long, thin, noodle like pieces. Lay out on a towel and sprinkle with salt.
2. In a skillet or saucepan, brown beef and stir in marinara sauce, set aside.
3. In mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, egg and salt, set aside.
4. Pat down zucchini with towel and warm a large skillet on the stove. Lay zucchini noodles in skillet a few at a time, browning on each side. This should only take 1 minute or so for each batch. Lay back onto dry towel to cool.
5. While you are cooking the zucchini, begin to layer lasagna in a 9×13 pan. First, cover the bottom of the pan with about a cup of the meat sauce. Next, add a single layer of zucchini, cover with about half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Repeat with sauce, zucchini and cheese until all ingredients are used up.
6. Top it all off with mozzarella cheese and cover in the fridge for later, or put straight in a preheated oven at 375′. Cook covered for 30 minutes, uncover and let brown on top for about 15 minutes. It should be bubbly, melty and starting to brown on the edges. Yum!
7. Let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving.