Lasagna is an intimidating dish. Pulling together a lasagna is daunting and to be frank time consuming. You’ve got to make your sauce. You’ve got to prepare your noodles. You’ve got to organize all the fillings. And then you bake if for an hour, uncover it, and bake it some more. It’s not really a weeknight meal, lest you want to eat at 8:00.
But, sometimes, all you really want is some cheese, some carbs, and some sauce, preferably in layers please. So I say, to heck with you traditional Italians. You may turn up your nose at my totally “mangiacake” pasta, but for the rest of you, I’m about to blow your mind: lasagna, really, is like sangria. You need a few essential ingredients, and then you just chuck everything together and it’s delicious. To make an easy, delicious lasagna, all you really need is:
1 package of pre-cooked lasagna noodles
1 jar of sauce (whatever kind you choose. I used a tomato sauce with spinach and cheese. And if you have homemade sauce lying around you can use that, but you don’t get any extra points. I don’t work that way.)
1 chunk of mozzarella (probably about 2 or 3 cups, depending on how cheesy you like it.)
1 tub cottage or ricotta cheese. (Again, you can really get any size depending on how cheesy you like your lasagna. Ricotta is smoother but sweeter, cottage is saltier, but with more texture.)
Whatever filling you want. I usually cook down a whole bunch of baby spinach. This time around I sautéed some zucchini and tossed in a bunch of olives. I love olives.
Then, all you have to do is layer. Spoon a thin layer of sauce in your pan first so that you lasagna doesn’t stick horribly. Then lay down a layer of noodles. Next, spread your cottage or ricotta cheese, sprinkle on some shredded mozzarella, and layer on your veggies. Repeat, until you’re near the top of your pan. Finish off with a layer of noodles, spread on some sauce, and add a hearty sprinkling of mozzarella.
Most packages of pre-cooked lasagna noodles tell you how to cook them. I cooked my lasagna at 375 for 40 minutes covered in tin foil, and then for 15 minutes uncovered.
And that’s it. Literally. That’s it.
It’s outrageously easy. It still takes probably about an hour and a half to make and cook in total, but let me tell you, it is de-licious. It might not be authentic. It might not be scratch-made. But it’s a lasagna, and really, that’s all that counts.