The longest I can go without pasta is about a month and then I lose my mind. Most Italians reading this are probably thinking “A month? Are you crazy?!?” I get it but I really try to avoid pasta as much as I can. Tonight though, I had just about reached my limit and Man! This recipe did not disappoint. It had all the necessary comfort components – satisfyingly saucy, creamy, cheesy, warm and gooey – you name it and it was so quick to prepare. It’s perfect for a weeknight and making it doesn’t mean you’re lazy. It means you’re expedient and clever 😉
Make it quick: I usually have sautéed spinach ready in the fridge (yes, seriously) and I usually have prepared Bolognese tomato sauce (meat sauce) in the freezer so this recipe was ready before I could say “Lazy Girl Lasagna with Spinach and Ricotta!!” 😀
Lighten up! I shaved off a few calories by decreasing the amount of cheese (I know…boring) but it was still very tasty. In the ricotta mixture, I sprinkled only a couple of teaspoons of Pecorino Romano cheese instead of the 1/4 cup of Parmesan. Pecorino Romano’s flavour packs a punch so a little goes a long way. I omitted the mozzarella between the layers, only adding a light sprinkle on the very top layer. I omitted the parmesan on the top layer as well.
Making this lasagna lighter did not affect the flavor much as I was using Bolognese sauce, which is flavourful on it’s own. However, if using plain tomato sauce or tomato purée, I would imagine you’d have to ‘up’ the amount of cheese.
Note: As this recipe is made with left overs, adjust your lazy lasagna to your liking. I tend to use more pasta than recommended and more sauce. That’s the beauty of this; you can use it as a guide and make it all your own. In any case, it’ll be delicious.
3 heaping cups leftover cooked short cut pasta tossed in butter, such as penne
Oil or butter, for greasing baking dish
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 (5-ounce) bag baby spinach
8 ounce (250 gram) container ricotta (I love Bella Casara brand – found at IGA)
1 egg, beaten
Pinch nutmeg, preferably freshly ground
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated (or a couple of tbsp. of Pecorino Romano)
About 2 cups of jarred puréed tomatoes or prepared tomato sauce (preferably Bolognese)
1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease an 8-inch x 8-inch square baking dish.
Heat large fry pan over medium heat. Add olive oil. When olive oil is hot, add garlic. Stir and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add spinach, salt and pepper and cook until just wilted. Remove from pan. When cool, squeeze out any excess moisture and then mix with ricotta, 1/4 cup Parmesan, egg and nutmeg. Set aside.
At the base of your baking dish, layer 1/4 cup tomato sauce, about 1 cup pasta, 1/2 cup tomato sauce, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, all of the spinach and ricotta filling, remaining pasta, 1/2 cup more tomato sauce, remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. (Note: If you prefer your lazy casserole more saucy, add 1/4 cup more sauce.)
Cover with parchment and foil. Bake until cheese is melted and pasta is thoroughly heated through and bubbly, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake uncovered, until cheese turns a little golden, about 5 minutes.
Thank you for reading! Enjoy!