I eat a lot of pasta. I’ve eaten a lot of pasta my entire life—pastina for breakfast as a baby, small shaped mixed with cheese as my first meals I made myself, and multiple family meals a week with my dad’s meat sauce, with grilled veggies, with sauce from the Italian market, with butter when I was feeling sick. Pasta makes up part of the essence of my soul. So while I do strive to eat naturally gluten-free foods as much as possible, gluten-free pasta is the one “replacement product” I can’t live without.
At this point, I’ve tried almost all the brands and shapes and blends of gluten-free pasta (though that’s a topic for another post). It’s been so long at this point (almost eight months!) that I no longer really feel like there’s a difference between regular and gluten-free dried pastas. After all, pasta is really mostly a vehicle for sauce. Naturally, gluten-free lasagna lends itself particularly well to being exactly like the real thing. So when I saw this recipe for Brussels sprouts lasagna on How Sweet Eats, I knew I had to adapt it.
And adapt it I did. I didn’t just make it gluten-free, which was a pretty easy switch. Brussels sprouts AND mushrooms AND tons of cheese just sounded like too much savory-ness to me, so I decided to swap the mushrooms for cherry tomatoes, which help counter with some sweetness. I also used mozzarella instead of provolone, because mozzarella makes up part of the essence of my soul too.
Gluten-Free Lasagna with Brussels Sprouts & Cherry Tomatoes (adapted from How Sweet Eats)
2 small shallots, diced small (about 1/4 cup)
2 gloves garlic, minced
10 ounces brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced (if you’ve got a Trader Joe’s, cheat and buy their shaved Brussels sprouts)
16 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved (big mama ones quartered)
16 ounces ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated pecorino cheese, divided
1 package gluten-free lasagna noodles
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons gluten-free all-purpose flour (your blend must contain a starch)
2 cups milk, left at room temperature for about 20 minutes
1/4 tsp nutmeg
red pepper flakes
Prepare your lasagna parts
Set a large pot of water to boil. When water is boiling, add noodles and cook for four minutes less than package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water and then either soak in an ice water bath or coat noodles with olive oil.
Meanwhile, heat enough olive oil to coat the bottom of a large skillet. Add shallots and cook until softened and beginning to turn translucent, 2 to 3 minutes, then add in Brussels sprouts and garlic and season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add in cherry tomatoes and more salt. Cover skillet and cook another 8 to 10 minutes, stirring once or twice, until you can burst your tomatoes a bit. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add flour and whisk together, stirring constantly for 2 to 3 minutes until well-combined and smelling delicious. Slowly pour in milk in a steady stream, whisking as you go, until all the milk is in. Switch to a spoon and keep stirring constantly, making sure to scrape the bottom and edges of your pot, until sauce thickens and magically becomes bechamel, about 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and nutmeg. Remove from heat.
In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, 2/3 cup mozzarella, and 1/4 cup pecorino.
Assemble your lasagna
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Spread 1/4 cup bechamel at the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Lay three noodles down. Top them with 1/3 the cheese mixture (you will probably need to use your fingers to spread it around), 1/3 the vegetable mixture, then 1/3 the bechamel. Top with three more noodles, then repeat the cheese/veggie/bechamel layering process (now using 1/2 of what you have left). Top with three more noodles, then use the rest of the cheese/veggie/bechamel. Cover with three more noodles, then sprinkle top noodles with reserved 1/3 cup mozzarella and 2 tablespoons pecorino. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving (it will be the longest 10 minutes ever).
P.S. Sorry for the absence in posting! You can thank my mom for
kindly nudging me texting me and blatantly calling me out to post.