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Lasagna is not a difficult Italian recipe to make at all. Fortunately, many people think it’s difficult, so when you end up making it they are really super impressed!
This particular lasagna recipe is simple and is a meatless version. However, you can easily remedy that by adding some cooked ground beef or other meat right in with the other ingredients. Not a big deal.
What Type of Cheese
My mom’s lasagna was always a household favorite and we always had it on major occasions like birthdays, Christmas and the like. However, she used three various cheeses by adding cottage cheese, Parmesan and Ricotta.
I don’t do that – I keep it simpler and just use Romano and Ricotta.
You can however choose to use a mixture and there is nothing wrong with that. The main reason why I don’t use the cottage cheese is because I rarely have it on hand, although it is an economical alternative. Both versions turn out wonderful.
Freezing the Lasagna
You can also freeze the lasagna if you prepare it early for later use. Simply take it out the night before and let it thaw. Then cook in the oven covered at 350F for however long, I’d guess about an hour (if it’s thawed). It depends if it’s still frozen a bit, so make sure to test it!
Under-cooking the Noodles
Anytime you are going to bake a dish like lasagna that has noodles you have to boil the noodles first.
However, you don’t want to over cook them, instead you want them to be slightly undercooked, aka al dente. The noodles will continue to cook in the oven as the lasagna bakes.
You don’t have to worry about the noodles drying out as they bake because you’ll make sure that the entire dish is covered with sauce.
I also recommend covering the dish until the last 15 minutes or so. Any exposed noodles will become dry, so make sure the sauce is thoroughly spread over the noodles to prevent this from happening.
For side dishes, I’d recommend the standard array of salad, garlic bread and traditional meatballs. Since this is a meatless lasagna, the regular meatballs work out great for guests or family that prefer to have meat as part of their Italian dish.
This way those who don’t want meat can have it without meat, while those who like the meat can have the meatballs.
Lasagna Meatless Recipe
- 1 box lasagna noodles
- 2 lbs ricotta cheese
- 48 oz. pasta sauce (or 6 cups)
- 6-8 oz shredded mozzarella
- 3/4 cup grated Romano cheese
- 1/4 cup dried parsley flakes or 1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
In a large pan cook the noodles according to the package instructions - add 1 Tablespoon olive oil to water. Do not over cook the noodles, if anything undercook by just a couple of minutes.
Meanwhile in a separate large bowl mix the parsley, ricotta, and 3/4 of the mozzarella cheese, and romano cheese.
When noodles are done drain and rinse with cool water to prevent any further cooking. See tip below.
In 9x13 baking dish spread a layer of sauce.
Lay a layer of noodles, then sauce, then cheese.
Repeat ending with a layer of noodles and top with sauce making sure to cover all exposed noodles.
Cover with foil (shiny side down) and bake for 35 -45 minutes until heated through and sauce is bubbling from below.
Sprinkle remaining mozzarella cheese on top and bake for 5 or 10 minutes until cheese is melted.
Let cool for about 10 minutes until serving.
TIP #1: The olive oil in the water is not for flavor. It is to help prevent the noodles from sticking together as much when you take them out of the water and drain. You can cover the noodles with cold water so they are not so hot to the touch when you are ready to assemble.
TIP #2: I have actually made this recipe without mozzarella cheese, using Romano and Ricotta only.
TIP #3: If you have remaining unused lasagna noodles and filling, create lasagna rolls by using the broken noodles to wrap around the filling. Kind of like manicotti. Bake in a smaller baking dish.