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Sep 3, 2008 03:18 PM

Fresh Pasta Lasagna w/Ricotta, need ideas

I practiced making a non-meat fresh pasta lasagna for an upcoming dinner. I used whole milk ricotta, parmesan, teleme cheese and Moz (only part skim avail at the Italian store). (I also used 1 ball of fresh Moz.) I had to combine some recipes and felt it was lacking something. (I made my own sauce with canned San Marzano tomatoes.) I was wondering if I should have added beciamel (white sauce). Would it be sloppy? I know they add it to meat lasagnas.

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  1. I like having a Besciamella in my lasagna and as long as it isn't to thin it wont get too sloppy. If you use a Besciamella I would take the ricotta out of the lasagna. Also if you aren't adding any meat you should add something of the same texture like crimini mushrooms or wild mushrooms to give it a better mouth feel. And a little bit of nutmeg in your Besciamella will do wonders.

    2 Replies
    1. re: nicholeati

      I think that as stated, adding somthing to replace the meat texture would help. One of the Silver Palate books has a vegetarian lasagna the uses eggplant.

      1. re: yayadave

        I've bought it a couple of times over the years without quite knowing what I was planning to do with it (chile?) but what about coarse-textured TVP? I'm still not sure how you're actually supposed to use *it*, since it's so-o-o dry, but there's always more than one way to skin a cat. To be a little complicated about it, I suppose you could fold, tuck?, it carefully into the rigott', maybe going so far as not to drain it before this use anyway, or throwing in a little cream or something to thin it out a bit if it seems worth the effort. ;)

        As a bit of an epilog, if you're looking for a meatless baked pasta dish with B├ęchamel, you might consider the Greek dish pastitsio, subbing TVP hydrated with maybe an even thinner tomato sauce, appropriately seasoned, for the meat sauce, and with the bechamel as the final layer and a little cheese (Parmesan, kefalotyri, etc) strewn over the whole thing. I'd be inclined to go heavy on the cheese but that's of course a matter of preference. (I just noticed this wasn't really a recipe per se, but Epicurious or SOAR probably has a million detailed recipes for pastitsio so that shouldn't be a problem. ;) )

    2. You could add eggs to the ricotta to help hold it all together, but that wouldn't help as far as the "lacking" flavor. I think bechamel would only be a good option if you added a bunch of veggies (zucchini, mushrooms, shredded carrots, eggplant maybe even, all sauteed in EVOO with a bunch of garlic, which makes everything better. Also, provolone has a fair amount of flavor. good luck!

      1. What was the "something" that was lacking? Flavor intensity?

        Was the dish underseasoned? Except for the Parm, all the cheeses are bland.
        A little salt, some fresh basil, cheeses with greater pungency, a little more seasoning in the sauce -- all can help create more flavor.

        3 Replies
        1. re: maria lorraine

          I guess I'm so afraid of too much salt that it was a bit undersalted -- didn't know how much salt the parm would add. Maybe I can put dollops of pesto -- just don't want to add veggies. I have to decide if I should add a cream sauce.

          1. re: walker

            I think the pesto idea is good, if you don't want to add veggies. It will also help with adding some saltiness. Cream sauce will just add to the "blandness" if it's not seasoned properly.

          2. re: maria lorraine

            In this vein, spinach can be added to either a b├ęchamel or a ricotta sauce for flavor and texture..