A couple of weeks ago, a coworker friend of mine brought me in some of his homemade lasagna and it was incredibly delicious. It took me a few meals to finish it as I like to eat pasta sparingly; however, when it was gone, it left me yearning for more, so I decided to make some and improvise with the ingredients I had on hand, which included pennette pasta. If you’re not familiar with pennette, they’re simply a shorter and thinner version of penne pasta, and have ends that are cut at an angle. I threw this together without doing a lot of measuring (and made a small serving), but am providing my best guesstimate on the amounts I used. To be honest, I was a little nervous how it would turn out, but much to my delight, it was truly scrumptious.
- 3/4 container (around 11 oz.) of ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup 2% mozzarella, shredded
- 1 tsp. fresh basil, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/8 tsp. garlic
- 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 2 cups pennette pasta
- 2-3 cups prepared marinara or pasta sauce
- 1/4 cup shredded parmesan
- 1/4 cup Mexican Style Four Cheese Blend
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add pasta, cook for 8 minutes (they won’t be completely done but they finish cooking in the oven).
- Drain and set aside.
- Mix together ricotta and egg, then add mozzarella, parmesan, basil, oregano, garlic and salt.
- Spray a small baking dish with Pam (I used a small 5″ x 7″).
- Put a layer of marinara in the bottom of your pan, sprinkle some red pepper flakes and then 1/3 of the noodles (lay them flat), spread the ricotta cheese mixture on top of the noodles, put a layer of sauce on top of the cheese, add pepper flakes, top with 1/2 of noodles, repeat process again, and finish with remaining sauce and the Mexican 4 Cheese (there should be 3 layers).
- Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover for the last 5 minutes of cooking.
- Let it sit for 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving.