A LABOUR OF LOVE
This is going to be a short post so that you can get started on cooking as soon as you can! I made this a few days ago, and it was to die for. Neither Jon or I have had anything similar to conventional lasagna in years, and it was my goal to create something comperable. And people, let me say this - IT WAS A SUCCESS. Definitely, it is as I mentioned, a labour of love, but the process and the meal were both so emotionally and physically rewarding that I can honestly say it is worth every instant.
My favourite part of this recipe aside from the finished product was making the sheep milk ricotta. So fun, and the result was light and delicious.
Make this on a weekend, and enjoy it with your whole family! And if you have leftovers, even better. I actually found it delicious when it was cold (but then again I was one of those strange kids that liked cold pizza, so...)
1/2 c finely chopped onions
4 large cloves organic garlic
1lb grass fed ground beef
1/3-1/2 c mennonite sausage
3 cups organic tomato/pasta sauce (I didn't have time to make my own, so I bought one at Natures Emporium.
2-3 tbsp water
2 free range eggs
4 tbsp local fresh finely chopped Parsley
1 cup home made sheep milk ricotta (Scroll down to the bottom of this recipe for a how-to guide!) - If you don't have time to make it yourself, that is okay - just purchase a good quality goat or sheep ricotta.
190 g (1 bar) goat cheddar or mozarella, shredded
5 large round sweet potatoes
2 tsp ground black pepper
dash sea salt
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Finely chop onions, mince garlic, chop sausage, and separate ground beef into little chunks.
3. Add onions, garlic, sausage, ground beef, half of the parsley, and 1 tsp black pepper to a glass baking dish. Bake for 15 min or until lightly browned at the top.
4. Add 1 c sauce and water, and allow to bake for another 15 min. When finished, remove and let sit.
5. Wash, peel, and medium thinly slice sweet potatoes lengthwise (ie. if you were making scalloped sweet potato). I used rounder potatoes, and would recommend this as it was easier to layer.
6. In another glass baking dish (9x13): add 1/2 c sauce to the bottom.
7. Layer sweet potato slices on top of each other over top of the sauce. Make sure they overlap (like in the image below).
8. Brush more sauce on top of the layer of sweet potato.
7. Add 3/4 of the beef mixture in as even of a layer as you can. Sprinkle some black pepper.
8. Add 3/4 of the ricotta over top in as even of a layer as you can. Don't be afraid to press it into the beef a bit.
RICOTTA: mix 1 cup of ricotta with the eggs, the remaining chopped parsley (2 tbsp), dash of sea salt.All ready for the lasagna!
8. Sprinkle a little bit of the sheep mozzarella over top. However remember to reserve the majority for the top of the lasagna.
9. Add another layer of overlapped sweet potato.
10. Repeat layers - remaining sauce, beef mixture, black pepper, ricotta. Finish with a generous amount of the goat mozzarella.
11. Place in the oven to bake covered at 350 for 1 hr and 15 min. (Ideally use a glass cover but if you must use aluminum place place some wooden toothpicks in the top layer so as to elevate it away as far as possible from the food.) - Next time I make this, I am going to play around with pre-cooking the sweet potato so the cook time is shorter in the end, but for now this worked perfectly. I will post an update with any changes in future.
12. Uncover, and bake for another 10-15 min.
13. Let cool for a bit, and serve!
on 2012-06-14 00:22 by The Legendary Fitness Team
HOME MADE SHEEP MILK RICOTTA
This was one of the best part of making the lasagna, and was so much fun!
Now, if you can find a good quality traditionally raised goat or sheep ricotta in a store, by all means. That will cut down your prep time. But honestly, I didn't mind making it. I just started a little earlier, and by the time I had chopped/prepped/pre-baked all the rest of the ingredients it was ready.
YIELD: 1 cup
TIME: 2 hours
4 cups whole sheep milk
3 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp goat butter, melted
1/8 tsp baking soda
1. Heat milk slowly in a large saucepan over low heat for about 2 hours. Stir occasionally, and ensure it does not boil or stick to the bottom/sides. (Meanwhile, prep the rest of the meal, read a good book, or write a new blog post).
2. Add apple cider vinegar drop by drop. Give it a minute or so, and stir. You should see the curds clearly separate from the whey. SO COOL! (If they do not separate, increase the heat a bit, and you should see this occur)
3. Using a cheesecloth folded over a large bowl, spoon in mixture. Let it sit for a few minutes to strain, and remove the cheese and place in a bowl. (If you're a keener, keep the whey and use in cooking the next day.)
4. Add melted goat butter and baking soda, and VOILA!