Post # 44 Mock Lasagna Casserole

September 10, 2012 at 2:36 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

I got a lot of buzz on the new story, and one request for a good lasagna recipe.  I’m putting the lasagna recipe together, but for a quick lasagna-style dish, nothing beats this one.

You have to pick the right pasta for this.  I look for a pasta for which I do not know the name (anyone want to hazard a guess?)  It’s shaped exactly like mini lasagna noodles.  If I can’t find it, which I usually can’t, I use farfalle, more commonly called bowtie.  If I don’t have those, I go with any pasta I have available.

Next, you need to have a good sauce for this.  Ordinarily, I make my pasta sauce in a crock pot and let it cook over several hours to mellow the flavors.  However there are many times when I want a fast casserole.  I start with browning a pound of hamburger, and if I have it, I add bulk pork sausage to it.  Cook the meat thoroughly, then drain as much fat as possible.  Then, if I feel like it, I add chopped onion, mushrooms, peppers, etc.  Once that’s done, I add a jar of my favorite spaghetti sauce.  I won’t go into the relative merits of one over the other, just use what you like because we’re gonna dress it up.  Mix thoroughly and heat through over a medium to low heat.

Add one regular sized can of diced tomatoes.  I usually use unseasoned, but you can use whatever you like.  Then add a small can of tomato paste.  Stir slowly until all the ingredients are mixed and well blended.  Add 1 cup of water and stir.  Add two crushed garlic cloves, skin on or off as you like.  Add 1 1/2 tsp of Italian seasoning, and the same of oregano.  Alternatively, you can leave these out, and add 2 tsp dried basil, or a cup of fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped.  Let this simmer for about an hour so all the flavors blend well.

Remove sauce from heat and allow to come to room temperature.  Once the sauce has cooled, start water boiling for the pasta and cook the pasta for HALF the time called for on the directions.  If you’re using absolutely fresh made pasta, just parboil it.  Drain the pasta and put in a bowl.  Add enough sauce so all pasta is well coated, then add half a cup more.  The pasta will continue to cook in the oven absorbing extra liquid.  Add one to two cups grated cheeses.  I use an Italian mix that comes from the store.  Pour into a casserole dish that will hold all of it without spilling over.  Sprinkle the top with parmesan cheese, put in the oven at 325 and cook for 45 minutes until bubbly and cheese on top is brown.  Serve hot.  Freezes well.

Having walked you through this, there are always short cuts you can take.  You can pare this down to simply a jar of sauce, some cooked pasta, some cheese in a pan in the oven.  Your call.

However, when this is served, it has a taste like lasagna without the layers and without the work.  Good stuff.

Enjoy!

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1 Comment

  1. That certainly sounded wonderful, can actually taste it. I’ll surprise everyone and prepare this one day.


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