Lasagna!!! What can you say?!? A good one is just heavenly! I’ve found that I’m kind of particular about lasagna and I haven’t found too many restaurant versions that I like. Maybe it just tastes better when my own blood, sweat and tears have gone into making it.
When I first started making lasagna, following a recipe I got off a pasta box, it was very time consuming. Sadly, it became one of those “special” things I only made once in a while, but then I learned a trick that made it so much easier and quite a bit faster. That part where you boil the pasta, forget it!!! You just don’t need to do it! Those huge lasagna noodles are disaster to boil! They rip! They stick together! They get bunched up and don’t cook all the way! Forget that!
I have found that regardless of the type of lasagna noodles I use (boil-free, whole wheat, regular pasta) that as long as when I layer the lasagna I make sure the pasta is covered with a decent amount of cheese and sauce, they will just fine on their own during the baking process. My lasagna comes out soft enough that they are very pleasant to eat, but firm enough that a slice of lasagna sits up nice and proud on the plate!
But the most important ingredient in lasagna? Let’s be honest! It’s the sauce! It’s all about the sauce! Sure, if you want to crank out a quick, weeknight version you can use the jarred stuff, but I prefer to make my own sauce from scratch and use that in my lasagna. You can check out my blog entry from August 11, 2015 for my Marinara Sauce recipe. It’s low-fat and delicioso!
Kelly’s Marinara Sauce (See 8/11/15 blog post for recipe)
½ of a 1 Pound Package of Lasagna Noodles (I usually use whole wheat)
1 egg beaten
1 – 16 oz container of Non-fat Ricotta Cheese (or you can substitute non-fat Cottage Cheese)
1 tbsp Fresh Flat-leaf Parsley, Chopped
1 Pound Low-fat Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded (I usually save time by buying the bags of pre-shredded cheese)
½ cup Parmesan Cheese, Grated
Prepare the marinara sauce according to the recipe or in a pinch you can use jarred sauce. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a Pyrex lasagna dish with non-stick cooking spray. Combine egg, ricotta, and parsley in a bowl. In bottom of Pyrex lasagna dish, spread about 1 ½ cup of marinara sauce. Layer 1/3 of the uncooked lasagna noodles, spread 1/3 of remaining marinara sauce, then spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture, 1/3 of the mozzarella and then 1/3 of the parmesan. Repeat layering until complete and topped with cheese. Cover with foil. Bake for 25 minutes, remove foil, and bake another 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit 5 minutes. 8-10 servings.
The great thing about lasagna is it can be pretty loosey goosey. If you’re not exact with your layers, it’s OK. Like it cheesier? Add more cheese! Like it saucier? Add more sauce! Like olives or artichoke hearts? Add some of those! Great creative and make it your own! Play with your food! It’s fun! I hope you enjoy!