August 4: National Lasagna Day
Highlander occasionally orders lasagna at Italian restaurants in America (and also in Italy). One square slice of the cheesy and meaty layered pasta dish is very filling for him. Islander thought this casserole was complicated to make at home for him (due to the dairy content, she cannot eat it). But with oven-ready packaged pasta ribbon, it is not as hard to prepare as it seems. One night of cooking lasagna goes a long way. It could be prepared ahead of time, be refrigerated or frozen, then baked—and the recipe yields a lot of servings. Highlander takes leftover lasagna for his lunches at work, too. Cut cooking time in half with this shortcut lasagna recipe for National Lasagna Day.
(Adapted from Skinner Pasta)
- 1 package (8 ounces) oven-ready lasagna (we used Skinner brand), uncooked; 9-12 ribbons/sheets
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 jar (24-26 ounces/3 cups)) spaghetti sauce
- 1 container (15 ounces/1 ¾ cups) ricotta cheese
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- ½ teaspoon dried basil leaves
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
In a large skillet, brown the ground beef. Add the spaghetti sauce and simmer. Set aside. In a bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, beaten egg, dried basil and oregano leaves.
Mix until smooth. In a 13×9-inch baking pan/casserole dish, layer the bottom with 1/3 of the meat mixture. Place three ribbons of oven-ready lasagna on top (do not overlap as the pasta will expand while baking). Spread 1/3 of the cheese mixture on top of the ribbons.
Cover the cheese and ribbons with another 1/3 cup of meat mixture. Sprinkle with 1 cup of mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle 1/3 of the Parmesan cheese over it. Place another three ribbons on top of this. Repeat again with the remaining ribbons, meat and cheese mixture.
The final layer should be spread with 2 cups of mozzarella cheese and the remaining Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Take off the foil and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes. Slice evenly into squares. Serve hot with extra spaghetti sauce (optional).
- Add one cup (8-ounce can) of tomato sauce to the spaghetti sauce in this recipe for a saucier lasagna.
- This recipe can be prepared in a 10×10-inch baking pan for a thicker lasagna.