It’s Pie Season.
I guess pie is always in season, but right now it’s pie with crust season. I’ve never been a dessert pie lover, other than my mom’s apple pie, or a summer fruit pie with an oat and brown sugar crumble top. But the idea of working with my hands to make a pie and craft the top was definitely appealing. I got the idea to make Lasagne Lattice Pie just as I was falling asleep one night, and I’ve been trying my hand at it regularly since.
My family has eaten a ton of lasagne lately! We’ve now reached the point where two things have happened; First, my kids have let it be known that they’ve had their fill of lasagne for a while. And second (and most importantly) the recipe and the process are done and where we all love it!
Here I’ve used lasagne sheets that I sliced into thick ribbons. I didn’t even know that I could buy lasagne sheets like this, actually. I went to a local market that sells their own fresh pasta and requested it. It didn’t seem like an unusual request, so clearly I haven’t been in the ‘lasagne know’ until now! I bought two pounds of it and started experimenting.
First I made a sauce. My absolute favorite non-summer tomato sauce is simple as can be. All you need is:
1 28 ounce can of tomatoes (see the note below)
2 small cloves of chopped garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
Pepper to taste
Red chili flakes (optional, to taste)
Heat a sauce pan to medium high heat. Add the olive oil. Bring the heat back up to medium high and add the chopped garlic. Let them get a slight sear on one side and turn the heat down to medium. Slowly add the tomatoes, including all juices. Adjust the heat down if this continues to splatter. Stir to combine, with the salt. Let that cook together for about 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the basil and continue to cook on low for another 10 minutes. Serve with pepper or chili flakes.
Note: I love to use whole, unseasoned canned tomatoes. When this sauce has finished cooking, I give it a few pulses with my hand blender to get it to my desired consistency. If I can’t find those, I use unseasoned pureed or strained tomatoes.
So back to that Lattice Lasagne Pie. I decided to weave strips of the lasagne into a lattice pattern and play with the shape, the ingredients on top and cooking technique to get it right. Truthfully, I wish that the lattice showed through better. But the thing about lasagne that makes it so irresistible is that cheesy, absolute comfort food appeal of the top. Right? Those bubbly bits with the perfect ratio of cheese to sauce to noodle are everything! That’s what I wanted, PLUS the cool lattice appeal of pie-meets-lasagne.
In the end, this recipe works beautifully because the noodles are al dente, the sauce is tasty and plentiful, the cheese is creamy and bubbly but not overpowering and the design is neat. Perfect for entertaining. Ideal for potlucks. A great idea for a new parent. An awesome twist on a family favorite.
Lasagne Lattice Pie
Here’s what you need:
1 pound lasagne sheets (size will depend on your baking dish. see note below)
2/3 cup fresh whole milk ricotta
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce, divided (see recipe above)
1/2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves cut into strips
3/4 cup shredded whole milk mozzarella
1 pound ground turkey
2 cloves garlic, sliced
Preheat the oven to 375.
Sauté sliced garlic in 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat. After 1-2 minutes or at the point when you see delicious light brown edges on your garlic slices, add the ground turkey. I like to leave some variation in size of the chunks, because the unpredictability of the little pockets tucked away underneath those noodles is part of what makes lasagne interesting to me. Cook thoroughly, time will depend on the largest size of your chunks. Combine with 1/2 cup of sauce (see recipe above).
Grease a 10 inch oval baking dish with olive oil on the bottom and sides.
In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta and egg with 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce. Set aside.
Assembling the lasagne layers (see note below)
Spread out 1/4 cup of sauce onto the bottom of the baking dish. Place the first layer of lasagne on the bottom. Spoon in a generous layer of the ricotta egg sauce mixture (about half) on top of the noodle.
Place one layer of zucchini slices on top. Sprinkle with almost half of the fresh basil. Sprinkle on a layer of mozzarella (I used 1/4 cup). Add the next noodle layer. Spread the remaining ricotta egg and sauce mixture onto the noodle. Add a thick layer of ground turkey. The 9 inch oval baking dish accommodates the whole pound, but that may vary depending on what you use. Sprinkle another round of fresh basil all around and top that with 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella. Add dollops of sauce.
Note: you can eliminate the meat here and just use an additional layer of zucchini or any sliced veggie of your choice!
Making the crust
Slice lasagne sheets into fairly even ribbons. Mine were about 1.5-2 inches wide. They should be longer than your baking dish. Lay them side by side in one layer, lengthwise. There will be overhang on both sides and we’ll use that later to form a crust. Using an over-under method, insert noodles crosswise and side by side to create the lattice.
Use a scissors or a sharp knife to cut off any excess that’s exceptionally long. You can use those later to make pasta- because why not? Use your fingers and pinch together the noodle ends around the edge of the baking dish. Pinching together and tucking in the pasta will form a sort of crust and it is absolutely divine when baked. Brush all around with olive oil and make sure to get that crust. Spread a thin layer of sauce all around the top, and top with cheese. Make sure to go easy on the cheese in some spots so that the fruits of your labor - the lattice work - shows through!
p.s. - you can make these in various shapes. I tried my hand at a round pie and small pies too!
Baking the Lasagne
Cover with foil or parchment and pop into a preheated 375 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove the cover and bake for another 25-30 minutes. At this point, you can add more mozzarella and place under the broiler for 2 minutes, but if you don’t want to add more cheese, you’re done! Enjoy!