On a regular weeknight, I tend to create meals just for two. I’ve become rather adept at making dishes that will feed us for one night…sometimes two if there are some leftovers. I know people love creating enormous dishes that can be eaten for days or frozen, but for some reason I don’t get into that on the regular.
Today is not a regular day though. I brought home the ingredients for this lasagna and intended for it to fit inside a small 9×9″ lasagna pan. Oops. As I began to chop, saute, and prepare the pasta, it became clear I would require a 9″x13″ for the massive amount of fixings I had. No worries though: pasta leftovers are always delicious…I didn’t mind…
…even though this lasagna was intended for just two of us. I’m not going to lie – the pan seemed to weigh about 20 pounds, and we were eating leftovers for at least four days afterward. Perhaps I should have invited some friends over to share this dish with; there was definitely enough to feed a crowd.
I love lasagna because the ingredients inside can be customized to your taste. I love loading mine up with vegetables. If there happens to be an ingredient someone wouldn’t like, it is easy enough to leave it out of one portion of the lasagna. I actually remember my mom doing that as a kid; my brother and I would have one half of the lasagna that would be “plain” and my mom and dad would enjoy the half with veggies and other good stuff. I really was missing out – why did I not realize that??? You live, you learn…
So, I’m curious: what are your favorite lasagna fillings?
6 oz fresh baby spinach leaves
3 medium zucchini (about 1lb), diced
12 oz chicken sausage (4 sausages, I used Al Fresco sundried tomato)
5 slices cooked bacon, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
24 oz jar pasta sauce of choice
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 egg, lightly beaten
15 oz ricotta cheese
10-15 fresh basil leaves
8 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
1. Preheat oven to 350° F. In a large pan over medium heat, saute fresh spinach leaves until just wilted. Remove from the heat and set aside/drain of excess moisture.
2. After the spinach has sauteed, use the same pan to saute the sausage until browned. Remove from the pan, then add the diced zucchini, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Saute the zucchini for 3-4 minutes until lightly softened, then set aside with the other ingredients.
3. In a bowl, stir together the ricotta and egg.
4. Lightly grease a 9″x13″ lasagna pan. It is now time to assemble the lasagna. To start: spoon a few scoops of pasta sauce on the bottom of the pan (about 1/4 cup). Place 3 lasagna noodles (I used no-boil) over the sauce. Spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture on top of the noodles. Next, add half of the “fixings” as a layer – zucchini, sausage, bacon, spinach, cherry tomatoes, and basil. Repeat this process again for a second layer. Finally, top the lasagna with three noodles, a layer of sauce, and a layer of shredded mozzarella cheese.
5. Top lasagna pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Then, remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow lasagna to rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Enjoy!