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Dec 13, 2012 09:48 AM

How do you make your cheese only lasagna?

I am doing Christmas Eve. But I am not with my family, only my in-laws, who are not Italian. But after years of being nice and quiet, I am now refusing to eat meat on Christmas Eve.

There is no point to doing any traditional Italian fish dishes with which I grew up; no one will eat them. I am thinking a baked ziti type dish, maybe a spaghetti type dish, and a lasagna.

My quick and dirty non-meat, non-veg lasagna is just noodles, ricotta, mozz and sauce. No spices (except what is in jar sauce) or anything else.

I would like to make it a little nicer than this "recipe" and could use some ideas/ recipes.


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  1. Does it have to be a "cheese only" lasagna? I think i would go for a wonderful mushroom lasagna, maybe even with spinach noodles if you wanted.

    My mushroom lasagna is a bechamel based lasagna. I get some dried mushrooms and reconstitute them with hot milk. Use this milk as the base of a bechamel (or technically more of a mornay since I like to add romano and pecorino to it). Saute up some mushrooms, onions, shallots - layer and go.

    I love it. . . .

    1 Reply
    1. re: thimes

      I love mushrooms in lasagne, both in a "white" lasagne with bechamel and in red-sauce lasagne with ricotta and mozzarella. Spinach is also terrific. I really like butternut squash lasagne as well - just layer roasted squash with your cheeses, bechamel and pasta (sauteed leeks are a nice addition, plus lots of sage). There are plenty of ways to make a non-meat lasagne dish interesting!

      That said, if you really want to keep it all cheese, I'd mix up the cheeses and try using some fontina, gruyere or maybe even a bit of gorgonzola, plus a variety of fresh herbs. Make your own ricotta, too - it's super simple but a MAJOR upgrade to store bought.

    2. My vegetarian lasagna comes from Bugialli's "Foods of Italy." What makes it special is fresh pasta, butter and Parmigiano mixed into the ricotta and a simple sauce made from a little garlic, olive oil and good canned tomatoes. A lot of fresh basil, distributed between the layers is what gives it a light, fresh flavor.

      1. A second note. You have listed three pasta dishes, which I find very unbalanced for a meal. There are wonderful vegetables you could do and I would certainly consider serving one seafood dish even if I was the only one to eat it. What about shrimp or simply fried cod or snapper with an Italian sweet/sour sauce?

        6 Replies
        1. re: escondido123

          I heartily agree with this post, after rereading the OP. There is no need to have three pastas, nor to deny yourself a lovely fish dish if that's what you like. I would do one hearty pasta, one vegetable side and one seafood dish, even if the seafood was just one serving for me, myself and I!

          1. re: escondido123

            Except it sounds like no one will eat fish. Nor does the OP want to eat meat.

            This is a wonderful lasagna using fresh mozzarella. Except I have never used the orange juice -- too weird.

            1. re: escondido123

              how do I get this new system to post a reply?

              1. re: escondido123

                grrr, I dislike this new Chowhound!

                No vegs in the lasagna, or any pasta dish. Except for my mother, no one will eat it.

                I am not making fish/seafood. What fishes I would make would require me to run all over heck and back. I am not up for putting so much effort into something that not only will no one eat, but they will also be quite nasty about it.

                1. re: escondido123

                  Any veg dishes I make will be a separate issue. these are just the pastas I was going to make.

                  1. re: lalajane

                    are there 50 people coming to this dinner? i can't fathom why you will need 3 different pasta dishes, especially with something hearty like lasagne.

                    you may want to do layers of different cheese. start with a good smoked mozz on the bottom, feta or asaigo in the middle and then a lighter, fluffy ricotta/herb/egg mixture on the top. use a tomato bechamel as your "sauce". another good alternative to jarred sauce is to buy grape or campari tomatoes and cook them down, very slowly, with olive oil, to a confited state. use that mixed in the layers too.

                    i don't ever use recipes for lasagne, so can't be more specific. but using good quality ingredients will make this a much better dish than just using jarred sauce and cheap supermarket cheese.

                    if food is a power struggle, just make one nice dish that you will enjoy. make a veggie side dish if you want, like roasted green beans or zucchini, and be done with it.

                2. Try bulking it up with sauteed eggplant, zucchini, crook-neck squash, chard, kale, or broccoli rape. I think it would be nice w/ a putanesca, spicy chunky red, or a red bell pepper, and tomato combo sauce.

                  1. My vegetarian lasagne is alfredo based - I'm allergic to tomatoes. I usually layer sauce, noodles, ricotta (I don't put eggs in - I'm allergic to those too, but if you stir it up a bit it is much easier to spread) and spinach, then repeat. Top with a little more sauce, sprinkle with some mozzarella and a little chopped basil if you like - or dried Italian seasoning if you are lazy and your fresh basil is slimy and gross.