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
1/2 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.
One of the things I truly love about Facebook, aside from being able to stay connected to family & friends both near and far, is the food pictures and/or recipes which inspire me to get into the kitchen and try them out. Most recently, a childhood friend posted a photo of her rigatoni pie, and it was seriously so pretty, I had to try to make it for that reason alone (well, it also looked delicious). I searched online and found quite a few recipes, and went with two I wanted to modify. Since I knew this pie was going to be a bit labor-intensive, and in the interest of time, I decided to use store-bought pasta sauce instead of making my own, but by all means, if you make a mean sauce, go ahead and use that. I am thrilled to report that this pie turned out amazing and absolutely scrumptious!
1 lb. rigatoni pasta
1 jar (24 oz.) pasta sauce (I used Bertoli Italian Sausage Garlic & Romano)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the rigatoni and cook until al dente (12 minutes for my pasta). Drain the pasta, rinse in cold water and drain again. Stir in 1 tbsp of the olive oil and set aside. (This keeps the pasta from sticking.)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Gently stir 1 cup of the grated Parmesan cheese into the cooked rigatoni.
Stand the rigatoni up vertically in a greased 9″ springform pan, using the entire pound of cooked pasta.
In a small mixing bowl, combine the ricotta, egg, remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan, basil, and oregano until smooth. Set aside.
Use a pastry bag, or put a zip lock bag inside a tall glass, and fill the bag with the cheese mixture. Close the bag and snip the corner of the bag and pipe a decent amount into each noodle (don’t fill all the way).
After piping the noodles with the cheese mixture, carefully pour about 3/4 of the jar of sauce over the whole top and push down as much as possible. (I wanted to save some sauce to heat up and use later for leftovers.)
Top with the mozzarella and cheddar cheese.
Put the springform pan on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Cook for 20 minutes, or until the cheese has fully melted.
Remove from the oven and allow it to stand in the springform pan for about 15 minutes. Carefully run a knife along the edge of the pan to loosen the pie from the pan, then remove the sides.
Slice the pie and garnish with parsley, if desired.
I woke up yesterday, yearning to make a meatless/veggie lasagna. I have no idea why this particular dish was pinpointed as the object of my affection, but knew I HAD to make it. I perused some of my saved recipes, and came across a few that looked delicious. So, I took one, altered it quite a bit and came up with this one, which I thought was amazingly scrumptious. I tried to be conscientious of the exact measurements I used… hopefully, that’s the case 😉
2 tbsp. butter or olive oil
9 no-boil lasagna noodles
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5 oz.) can vegetable broth
1 tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
2 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
1 (14 oz.) can marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
You must be logged in to post a comment.