A knowledge of the fundamentals of spells and magic has given me a lot of confidence. I know if I’m in a new, uncomfortable situation, I can go back to basics and at the very least, set the whole place on fire! The same is true of getting more familiar with ingredients and processes- confidence in the basics is the game-changer that lets me bypass complicated recipes to get at what I’m really after! Like lasagna!
The trouble with lasagna is that it’s overly complicated. Noodles can break, and selection of lasagna noodles is limited. Ingredient ratios are hard to pin down, and layering everything is a hassle. While I’ve made it (and loved it), it’s still too much of a hassle to make traditional lasagna regularly- but I have a Garfield-esque affinity for the flavors! I also like how well it keeps through the week as leftovers. I had to find something that was less work than making a traditional lasagna, but kept the flavors and made plenty of leftovers.
Turns out layering and giant, unwieldy noodles were my sticking points, so I went back to the fundamentals! This recipe works with nearly any noodle. Mushrooms and leafy greens provide a wonderfully toothy experience, and the red sauce/ricotta mixture offers all the best flavors of lasagna without the hassle of stacking noodles. The simplicity of this recipe allows a lot of flexibility- you can add TVP or other protein, if desired, or just pack it with veggies!
Deconstructed Lasagna (+4 mana, +2 health, +4 stamina)
- 2 jars tomato-based pasta sauce- any brand or flavor (not all of the second jar will be used)
- 1 16 oz box of rotini or fusilli pasta (could be bowtie or shells- something open and small)
- 1 12-15 oz package ricotta cheese (or replacement of choice)
- 2 cups sliced mushrooms
- 4 cups shredded kale or spinach
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Optional additional Ingredients
- ¼ cup mozzarella cheese
- ¾ cup TVP rehydrated in broth
- sliced seitan sausage
- Italian sausage meatless crumbles
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Prepare noodles as directed on package while preparing the filling- once drained, stir in one of the jars of marinara sauce to keep the noodles from sticking and keep off of heat.
- In a large skillet, saute mushrooms and meat substitute if using, with the garlic, red pepper, Italian seasoning, and salt. Once the mushrooms are softened, add the kale or spinach, and cook until just tender. Once everything is cooked through, add the mixture to the noodles and sauce, stir to combine.
- Use ¼ of the second jar of pasta sauce to coat the bottom of a large casserole dish, then spoon pasta mixture into dish and spread to make level. Using a small spoon, take spoonfuls of ricotta and place them in with the noodles (I tend to start by placing three dollops in four rows as if they were cookies, then fill gaps with remaining cheese). Keeping the globs of ricotta together, rather than mixing it into the hot mixture, gives the dish a more signature lasagna texture.
- Spoon out another ¼ jar of sauce over the top of the mixture, and spread around (add more if desired) and top with mozzarella cheese, if using. Bake 40-45 minutes uncovered until bubbling on top.