A cheesy affair…

by Julia Recker

As I told you before, I rarely consume dairy products. But when it comes to cheese it always turns into a special event and I enjoy it a lot. And since this situation happens only seldom, I place special value on the quality of the products. Flavorful mozzarella di bufala and creamy ricotta bring back vibrant memories of Italy, I have had the fortune of living there for some month a few years ago.
There are two main things I don’t like about traditional lasagne: The excessive amount of pasta that is used and the sauce containing lots of unnecessary fats and even more flour. So for this recipe I decided to use less pasta but more vegetables and come up with a healthier version of a creamy sauce to turn this dish into a balanced and wholesome meal. I chose fresh spelt fettuccine which are naturally low in gluten and beneficial for digestive functioning. Tomatoes and mushrooms contribute tons of powerful natural antioxidants, B vitamins and essential minerals. And look at the colors: This is Italy in its perfection!

Messy Lasagne Tricolori

serves 4

250 g fresh spelt fettuccine 
10-12 mid-sized ripe tomatos
12-14 mushrooms 
3 garlic cloves
5 shallots
1 cup fresh ricotta 
120 g mozzarella di bufala 
1 handful basil leaves, plucked
olive oil 

Preheat the oven to 390°F/200°C.
Start by cooking the noodles in salty boiling water (approx. 5 minutes). Don’t discard the water!
Clean the mushrooms and place them in a big pan. Roast them in one piece at medium temperature for a few minutes until they start to shrivel and brown. You don’t need any oil here, just add some salt. Peel and slice the shallots and mash the garlic with the back of a knife. Rinse and quarter the tomatoes and place them in a huge bowl. Add shallots, garlic, some salt and a dash of olive oil. Give the mixture a good massage. Squeeze the tomatoes until soft and juicy. Add ricotta, mushrooms and basil. Use a pasta tong to also place the noodles in the bowl. Don’t panic, we want to take along some of the cooking water as well (the italian style ;)). Mix gently until evenly distributed and place in a large oven dish (I used two small ones). Decorate with plucked mozzarella and place in the oven.

Remove from the oven when the surface is golden and crunchy (baking time depends on how well your oven works, mine takes about 35 minutes).
Enjoy Messy Lasagne Tricolori with friends! :)


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