The smell of lasagna coming from the oven is one of the best memories I have about my Sundays in Italy. When I decided to recreate the same atmosphere here in London, I didn't know it would have taken so much work (and I didn't even roll the pasta myself!). Now I understand my mother and also her satisfaction when seeing all the empty dishes on the table.
Ragout sauce is generally the perfect match for this pasta dish but I wanted more cream for my gluten-free lasagna. Making homemade béchamel sauce with free from flour as a topping made this dish even more gluten free! I also wanted it to be suitable for vegetarians (within my guests), hence why I went for a fresh ricotta and spinach filling.
Here a time-lapse of the making:
Ingredients for the gluten free béchamel sauce:
- 500 ml of milk
- 50 grams of gluten free flour
- 100 grams of butter
- nutmeg, salt
Ingredients for the gluten free lasagna (6-8 servings):
- 12 lasagna sheets
- 1kg of frozen spinach
- 500 grams of fresh ricotta cheese
- 100 grams of parmesan cheese
- garlic and salt (as you prefer)
- 1 egg
Cook the spinach for the filling in a large pan, with two slices of garlic, water, salt and olive oil.
In the meantime, put the Lasagna sheets in salty boiling water and make sure to cook 4 sheets at the time (in a medium sized pot) to avoid them sticking together - they are hard to separate!
Cook the gluten free lasagna sheets 3/4 minutes less than the actual cooking time as the filling in the oven is meant to finish the work.
Place the lasagna sheets on a wet cloth meanwhile preparing the filling.
Once the spinach are cooked, take off the garlic and place them in a glass bowl.
Leave them cooling down for 15 minutes and then mix them with ricotta cheese, egg and parmesan cheese. If the result is still a bit fluid, wait 10 more minutes for the filling to settle down or take off the water with a spoon (some fluid is meant to stay in order for the gluten free lasagna layers to cook better in the oven).
Pre-heat the oven at 150ºC and in the meantime build up your gluten free lasagna tower in a tray. First, place a layer of spinach and ricotta filling as a base and then start alternating layers of pasta and filling till the top (the last layer must be pasta in order to create the crust).
To prepare the béchamel sauce, melt the butter in a pan and boil the milk in a different pot. When both ready, mix them together with the gluten free flour and a touch of nutmeg and a touch of salt. Remember to be really quick, to avoid lumps. Homemade béchamel is a little bit like homemade mayonnaise, if you stop stirring they go mad!
Finally, put the béchamel sauce on top of the lasagna tray and put the Lasagna in the oven at a temperature of 180ºC for 1 hour, checking on its status regularly.
My gluten-free Lasagna looked like this one below, and yours? Let me know!