Did you know that the most ordered dish in an Italian restaurant is a lasagna? And do you know why? Because a good homemade lasagna takes time. You need to boil the water, cook the pasta, dry the pasta, prepare the sauce, prepare the béchamel sauce if you want any, and shred all the cheeses. So yes, a classic lasagna takes a lot of time. Between the job and the kids, our time is usually in short supply, so I keep trying to reproduce classical recipes in a way that would be faster to prepare.
There are still quite a few steps that need to be done, but wherever I could save time, I found a way without sacrificing the taste. I hope you will enjoy it as much as my family enjoyed it.
- 1 box oven-ready lasagna (500 g)
- 900 g cottage cheese
- 200 g cooked spinach (frozen and then thawed is okay)
- 500 g grated Mozarella (substitution Gouda or Cheddar)
- 60 g grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 400 g ground beef
- 400 g ground pork
- 1 yellow onion (diced)
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp pepper
- 2 garlic cloves (chopped)
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 6 cups tomato Passata (option your own tomato sauce)
- Set your oven at 400°F and place the grill in the middle position.
- Warm up the tomato sauce in a saucepan on a low fire.
For the cheese and spinach filling
- In a large skillet, pour 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and add your diced onion. Fry them until a light coloration, add salt and pepper to your taste.
- Add the spinach into the skillet with 2 chopped garlic cloves, and keep cooking until most of the water from the spinach has evaporated.
- Pour your onions and spinach mixture into a large bowl.
- Using a wooden spoon, add the cottage cheese and the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Now the cottage cheese mix is ready, set it aside.
For the meat filling
- In the same skillet that you used to fry your onions and spinach, pour a tablespoon of vegetable oil, and fry all your meat.
- Season the meat with the dried basil and dried oregano. Add salt and pepper to your taste. Fry the meat until a nice golden coloration.
- In a 9 1/2-inch by 12-inch baking dish, pour about 2 cups of tomato sauce.
- Lay one layer of the oven ready pasta on top of the sauce.
- Pour the cottage cheese mix on top of the pasta.
- Put another layer of the oven ready pasta. On top of the pasta, pour your meat mix. Add one more layer of the oven-ready pasta.
- Pour and spread 3 cups of tomato sauce on top.
- For the last layer, cover the whole dish with the grated cheese.
- Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for one hour.
- After one hour, remove the foil, put the oven on broil, and broil the cheese until the desired color.