How to Make Lasagna in Under 20 Minutes

February 12, 2010

There’s nothing better on a night that you’re super busy than having a backup lasagna that you can throw into the oven and just bake without preparation. Contrary to what you might be thinking, lasagna couldn’t be simpler to make. Just boil the noodles, spread the sauce, the cheese, and repeat layering. It’s a pretty basic process! And, with most boxes of lasagna, you’ll get just about two pans worth of lasagna (if you’re using small trays anyway). Enough of all that, here are the ingredients and directions on how to make lasagna in under 20 minutes! If you guessed that this is just the preparation time, you would be right! A dish this good does take some time to cook in the oven, but for homemade lasgana, isn’t it worth it?

Ingredients:

  • One box of 16oz lasagna (they have whole wheat versions available in stores)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 12 oz can diced tomatoes (I recommend Muir Glen)
  • 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • One large container of ricotta cheese (use part skim for a lower fat cheese, 32 oz.)
  • One block of mozzarella, approximately 16 oz (the harder mozzarella, not the soft fresh variety), shredded

Directions:

  1. Boil the lasagna according to the package directions.  Add salt to the boiling water to avoid the pieces from sticking.  Note: Since your lasagna will be baked, it’s best to cook your pasta just until done, or al dente for best results (and to avoid mushy pasta!).
  2. Drain the pasta after it’s done cooking, set aside. Mix the eggs and basil in a large bowl. Add the ricotta cheese to the egg mixture.
  3. In a saucepan,  cook the garlic and olive oil on low for approximately 3 minutes. Do not let the garlic burn. Add the drained diced tomatoes to the oil and garlic. Simmer the diced tomatoes for 10 minutes, then crush them with a fork or large wooden spoon. Add the crushed tomatoes to the mixture.
  4. Spread a small amount of the sauce mixture on the bottom of the pan. Layer the pieces of lasagna in a glass pan, alternating the direction of each piece. Place a dollop of sauce on top of the pieces, then spread it out. Add a dollop of ricotta mixture on top of this, spreading this out while trying to keep the sauce and cheese mixtures separate.  Sprinkle the cheese on top of the lasagna, then layer with another layer of pasta. Repeat the ricotta, sauce, and cheese layering until the pan is full, topping the final layer with shredded mozzarella.
  5. If you plan on freezing your lasagna, skip this step, and wrap aluminum foil over the top of the pan and freeze. You can defrost the lasagna ahead of time before cooking, or throw it directly into the oven and heat for an additional 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Place the lasagna in the oven for approximately 25 minutes. Serve immediately.

Now, all you’ll need is a good salad and loaf of Italian bread, along with one of our Italian t-shirts and you’ve got a great Italian meal on your hands. Make a double batch and you’ll have plenty of this to freeze, and an easy meal on hand for those busy nights! Also, this will feed a large group of at least 6 hungry people per small dish of lasagna.

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