With this post I promise many things.
Speed of preparation.
Simplicity in ingredients.
Easy, breezy clean up.
And possibly the most important thing of all, it goes exceptionally well with a nice glass of red wine.
You’ll have a hearty, wholesome, delicious meal on the table in about 45 minutes. This is the recipe I turn to when the boys are craving lasagna but my work day doesn’t allow me to be in the kitchen long enough to put together the traditional type.
Shall we get started?
The grocery list – Shaved or grated Parmesan cheese, shredded mozzarella & provolone cheese (or another Italian cheese blend), a jar of marinara sauce, a can of diced tomatoes, curly edged lasagna noodles, salt, pepper, ricotta cheese, onion, basil, a small zucchini and summer squash, minced garlic, and one pound of ground beef.
First, we need to prepare the ingredients. Dice up about 1/2 cup onion, a small zucchini, and a summer squash. I love the addition of zucchini and summer squash but mushrooms would be great in this too. Feel free to substitute with the veggies you have on hand.
In a medium bowl, mix together the marinara sauce, diced tomatoes, and 1 cup of water.
Coat a deep 12″ skillet with non-stick cooking spray. A Dutch oven would work well too. Cook and stir the ground beef until no pink remains and then drain off as much of the grease as you can. Return the pan to the heat and add the chopped veggies, onion, and minced garlic.
Cook an additional 5 to 10 minutes until the veggies are fork tender.
Now the fun part. Break each lasagna noodle into 4 pieces and add them to the pan. For some reason I think it’s fun to break lasagna noodles.
Pour the tomato mixture evenly over the top of the uncooked pasta.
There is no need to pre-cook the pasta which I absolutely love. So fast and easy. Just make sure the tomato mixture evenly covers all of the pasta and it will cook perfectly.
Drop spoonfuls of ricotta over the top.
Sprinkle with the shredded mozzarella & provolone cheese and the Parmesan. Bring it to a good simmer then cover the pan, reduce the heat to low, and let it cook for about 25 minutes.
After 25 minutes, remove the cover, sprinkle the fresh basil over the top and remove the pan from the heat.
I like a lot of fresh basil. You can use more or less according to taste. It does a lot to brighten up pasta dishes.
Scoop it up.
Plate it up.
It’s excellent on it’s own. Or add a Caesar salad and some garlic bread to make for a complete meal.
And, of course, a nice glass of red. Cheers!
- 1 pound ground beef or Italian sausage (very good with Jennie-O Hot Turkey Italian Sausage)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 1 cup diced zucchini
- 1 cup diced summer squash
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 (25 ounce) jar marinara sauce
- 1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 cup water
- 10 curly edged lasagna noodles, each broken into 4 pieces
- 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella/provolone or Italian blend cheese
- 1/3 cup shaved or grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup chopped, fresh basil
Coat a deep 12″ skillet with non-stick cooking spray. Cook the ground beef, breaking up with a spoon, over medium-high heat until no pink remains. Drain off as much of the grease as you can and return the pan to the stove. Season the meat with salt and pepper and add the chopped zucchini, summer squash, onion, and garlic. Continue to cook; stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender when pierced with a fork, approximately 5 minutes or more.
Meanwhile, combine marinara sauce, diced tomatoes, and water in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside.
Add uncooked lasagna noodles to pan to cover the meat, breaking each noodle into 4 pieces as you add them to the pan. Pour the tomato mixture evenly over the pasta,making sure that the edges are covered. Bring to a good simmer then reduce heat to medium, cover pan, and simmer for 25 minutes.
Remove cover and drop spoonfuls of the ricotta over the surface of the lasagna. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella/provolone and Parmesan. Cover pan and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Sprinkle with basil and serve.