Sunday, September 12, 2010

Ricotta-less Lasagna

A lovely person recently told me my posts have been lacking "substance" so here's a lengthy post with step-by-step directions on how to make a hearty lasagna on a dime. I don't really like ricotta in my lasagna - I LOOOOVE ricotta in general. For tangential reasons, may I suggest topping some with a little raspberry jam or maple syrup and eating it as a lovely snack?

Anyway, in Italy I learned to make lasagna layering bechemel and tomato sauce, so here's my version of that procedure using ingredients I happened to have on hand. The results were amazing and I am quite proud of my handy work :)

What You Need:

1 box Barilla lasagna sheet noodles - not the one with ruffly edges, the flat ones
2 jars pasta sauce -I used vodka sauce and a garlic/olive oil sauce
5 cloves minced garlic
1 large can black olives, sliced
pepper, salt, garlic powder to taste

Make the Sauce (s):

Heat the sauces and add the garlic and spices. You can add some oregano if you want, too, but sometimes that overpowers the dish.

I had some leftover Gorgonzola bechemel sauce, so I decided to us that for my lasagna, but if you don't have any, just whip up a batch. See any one of my Mac and Cheese posts for a recipe.

Layer the Lasagna:

Start with a nice covering of sauce a the bottom of a Pyrex dish
Put on a layer of noddles
Cover noodles with more sauce and a sprinkling of mozzarella cheese
More noodles
Sauce, then I added some cooked and drained spinach and the bechemel
Sauce and mozzarella cheese
Continue this procedure until you are done with the noodles
Add one final layer of sauce and a healthy covering of mozzarella and pecorino if you have some
Cover the whole thing with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes in a 350 degree oven
Uncover it and bake an additional 10 minutes so the cheese browns

If you want, you can poke through with a knife to make sure the noodles are totally cooked, but the great thing about using these noodles is no pre-boiling!!!! The spinach is a great addition if you don't have meat, like me. But you could add some ground turkey or chicken or beef to the pasta sauce and nix the spinach - I wouldn't do both because then one of them will be jealous of the other. Another thing: I really like is how this lasagna falls when you slice it - in my opinion, food should not be so stiff that it stands on its own. No thanks.

And there you have it, a delicious, healthy meal to last you a week. I actually froze a few pieces for a rainy day. But this is also a great thing to make and feed a few good friends.


  1. WHATTTTTT you don't like ricotta, woman?!??

    This is blasphemy to Italians all over.

  2. Nono, I DO like ricotta, just not packed into my lasagna so it takes on a sponge-like consistency and total lack of flavor (see opening paragraph). Besides, Italians make a cheesy bechemel and use that instead, so I'd say they would be proud of my attention to their cultural preferences :)