I’ve been craving lasagna for over a week now. There have been so many ways I’ve imagined it both with and without meat. If I saw a vegetarian friend I’d wonder how I could get the sauce layer the right thickness. What kind of texture would the different layers have.
I would go through this process for all my friends and then reality would set in. For over a month I have been traveling staying in different houses. I have groceries, but less access to store things for too many days. Since I am leaving soon and can’t carry what I have left, I decided to put together the important components of lasagna and did the layering in the cooking process and how things are incorporated together. This change allowed me to shorten the time for this dish compared to a normal lasagna and achieve the flavoring with the different textures of a good lasagna.
While I made a vegetarian version, feel free to add a meat or just use what is available to you. The basics listed below make it easy to adapt and achieve the flavors and textures of a great lasagna in a wonderful, playful mess. This is great for kids as well.
Happy eating friends!
1 lb Linguini (Use your favorite pasta. If you use lasagna pasta, break it up into big pieces before boiling)
1 28oz can Plum Tomatoes whole
1 Zucchini, sliced and sautéed
1 Yellow Squash, sliced and sautéed
1 Onion, sliced and sautéed
3 large Basil leaves
1 Bay leaf
2 cloves of Garlic
1 cup Basil & Parsley, chopped
1 cup fresh Ricotta
3 cups Mozzarella, grated & divided
1 cup Parmesan, grated & divided
Salt to taste
- In large sauce pot heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add whole garlic cloves lightly crushed and a pinch of red pepper flakes; cook until the garlic is golden. Crush a 28-ounce can of plum tomatoes into the pot with a wooden spoon; rinse out the can with 1/2 cup water and add the water to the pot. Add 3 large basil sprigs and bay leaf; simmer, uncovered, until the sauce is thickened, 15 minutes. Discard the basil, bay leaf and garlic; season the sauce with salt.
- While the sauce simmers prepare your vegetables (or meats). Once cooked set aside to be combined.
- Preheat the oven to 450º F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; cook 1 pound of linguini until very al dente, 2 or 3 minutes less than the label directs; drain.
- Stir into sauce the chopped up basil and parsley with ricotta cheese.
- Once the cheese is well incorporated add in zucchini, squash and onions. Tip: Add in any cooked meats or other prepared vegetables now.)
- Toss the cooked pasta with the sauce and half of the parmesan and half of the mozzarella.
- Spread in an oiled 3-to-4-quart baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the pasta. Bake, uncovered, until browned, about 15 minutes. Let rest 15 minutes before serving.