To me, a perfect lasagna should have five tastants; sweet, salty, bitter, and savory. The texture should be mostly creamy with additions of some crunch and a little chewiness. While dairy may be its signature ingredient, I love including leafy greens and fresh herbs to bolster taste and nutritional value. An afternoon spent in the kitchen chopping and prepping is time well spent in my book but sometimes I want lasagna and I want it in like an hour. So scrap the scratch noodles and homemade red sauce and whip up this recipe in just 20 minutes. Add another 20 minutes for baking, 10 for cooling and boom, lasagna in like an hour.
And as always, including suggestions for a gluten free recipe.
Easiest Hour Lasagna
- 1-2 boxes of lasagna, 10-20 ounces. Use one box if you're making a smaller lasagna or prefer less noodles. Use two if you like the noodles to cover the entire surface on each layer
- 1 25 oz jar of pasta sauce
- I prefer Muir Glen Garlic Roasted Garlic
- 12 oz Italian chicken sausage, casings removed
- 1-2 lbs of spinach or chopped kale
- 1/2 cup of fresh basil, chopped
- 2 tablespoons cup of flat leaf Italian parsley
- 1 medium-large yellow onion, chopped
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 16 oz. fresh mozzarella in water, sliced
- I prefer the ovolini size
- 8 ounces of whole milk ricotta
- 8 ounces of grated Parmesan
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 teaspoons of fresh or dried oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In medium sauce pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and saute until just barely translucent. Add garlic, cook for one more minute. Add sausage and saute until fully cooked. Stir frequently and break apart large pieces, about 10 minutes. Add oregano, stir to combine. Once sausage is cooked, add basil and spinach/kale by the handful until all is wilted and combined into sausage, onion, garlic mixture. Salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.
- Meanwhile, bring large pot of water to a simmer and place noodles in. Cook until al dente, about 6 minutes. Carefully drain water. If using gluten free noodles, place them individually on baking sheet so they don't overlap (rice noodles can get especially sticky and may fall apart easily if not handled with some care).
- In a standard 9 x 13" baking dish, lay down the first layer of noodles (for less, place noodles next to each other covering the bottom of the dish. For more noodles, overlap the noodle leaving no room in between). Using the back of a spoon, add a generous dollop of ricotta cheese, spreading evenly across layer. Next, place slices of fresh mozzarella on layer, leaving about a quarter inch between each slice. Evenly spread a spoonful of sausage mixture next. Last, add a thin layer of pasta sauce, enough to coat the cheese and meat. Repeat this step once more. You now should have two layers of cheese, meat and sauce. Add one final layer of noodles, then add a generous spoonful of pasta sauce, enough so the layer of pasta is completely covered and it gets into the corners of the dish. Now add about 5-6 ounces of grated parmesan over the top and place in oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes. The cheese and sauce should just begin to bubble and the top layer of parmesan will be a golden brown.
- Let cool for at least 10 minutes.
- Sprinkle parsley over dish before cutting and serving. Serve with additional parmesan.
*For a crisp top layer, add less sauce to the top and set oven to broil for an additional 4 minutes of bake time.
*Depending on how much sauce you add, you may want to place a baking sheet on the rack below the lasagna to catch on sauce that bubbles over.