Tag Archives: ricotta

More Than Microwaving – Spaghetti Lasagna

It doesn’t matter how carefully I plan, it seems I always have leftover spaghetti. I don’t really like to reheat and eat spaghetti. It just loses something. The noodles get too soggy or they get completely dried out. It’s just never a happy thing for me. But, if you layer those noodles and sauce with some ricotta and mozzarella and bake it, you have all the deliciousness of lasagna, with the ease and resourcefulness of leftovers! 

First, stir together ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses with a little black pepper and Italian seasoning. Then, lay your leftover spaghetti noodles evenly in the bottom of your pan. Top the noodles with the cheese mixture. Top that with your leftover sauce. Sprinkle with a little extra cheese. Bake until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly. I served mine on top of a couple crisp leaves of romaine lettuce. 

  
Recipe:

1 16 ounce container ricotta cheese

1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning 

2-3 cups leftover cooked spaghetti noodles

2-3 cups leftover spaghetti sauce

Preheat oven to 350*. 

Stir together ricotta cheese, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, black pepper and Italian seasoning. 

Layer cooked spaghetti noodles evenly in the bottom of a small baking pan (I used a 9″ round cake pan). Spread cheese mixture evenly over noodles. Top with leftover spaghetti sauce. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. 

Bake at 350* for 20-25 minutes, or until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly. 

Lasagna

My kids love to help in the kitchen.  Laying noodles and spreading cheese and sauce layers are the perfect ways for them to help me make lasagna.  And, since they get to help so much, they always seem to eat more.  In fact, my daughter asked me to pack lasagna in her lunch 3 days in a row after we made it  for dinner.  I take a little help by using jarred sauce.  Also, I don’t pre-cook my noodles (and I don’t buy those “special” no-cook noodles either).

I start by browning hamburger and Italian sausage together.  Make sure you crumble it pretty fine as it is cooking so you don’t get big chunks of meat in your lasagna (unless you like big chunks, then, go for it).

DSCN1385

Drain off any extra fat and add sauce to meat in pan.  Use 3/4 cup of water to rinse out your jar and add it to the pan too.  This extra water will help your noodles soften up in the pan.  Then I mix up my ricotta cheese and mozzarella cheese with an egg and some seasoning.  The egg helps your cheese layer stay put instead of squishing everywhere when you try to eat it. And I use part-skim ricotta.  I’ve tried the regular.  The part-skim seems to give a creamier texture – less grainy than the regular.  Maybe it’s just me.

DSCN1386

Next, spread a very thin layer of sauce on the bottom of your baking dish to keep the pasta from sticking.

DSCN1387

I build three sets of layers – noodles, cheese, sauce.  Then, top the whole thing with some more mozzarella cheese.

DSCN1388

Put the whole pan in a preheated oven and bake it for about thirty minutes – until the cheese is melted and golden and the edges are bubbling.

DSCN1389

Let this stand for at least 10 minutes before you try to serve it.  If you don’t, you’re going to burn yourself and your layers are going to fall apart.  If you wait, you’ll be able to serve beautiful slices of deliciousness.

DSCN1395

Recipe:

1 pound hamburger

1/2 pound Italian sausage

24 ounce jar of prepared pasta sauce

3/4 cup water

15 ounce container part skim ricotta cheese

3 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese (divided)

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/4 teaspoon dried basil

12-15 dry lasagna noodles (depending on your baking dish)

Preheat oven to 350*.

Brown hamburger and Italian sausage in skillet together.  Drain.  Return to pan and add pasta sauce.  Pour 3/4 cup water into empty jar.  Swirl jar to rinse down all the extra sauce and add water to pan.  Leave sauce simmering on stove.

Add ricotta, 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, egg, pepper, Italian seasoning and basil to a bowl.  Stir to mix thoroughly.

Spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of your baking dish. Cover with 4-5 dry noodles, depending on the size of your baking dish.  Top dry noodles with 1/3 of cheese mixture. Spread to distribute evenly.  Top with 1/3 of your sauce and spread to distribute evenly.  Repeat the layering process 2 more times.  Top with remaining 2 cups mozzarella cheese.

Bake at 350* for 30 minutes.  Cheese will be melted and golden and sauce will be bubbling at the edges.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.