What? Accidental lasagne casserole? What is that? Yumminess, that’s what.
When I was first married we were both students and money was really tight, it would be a stretch some nights as to what would be for dinner. We use to make a game of it and come up with recipes from what we had in the kitchen and in the garden. Some were winners, some were not.
This self-quarantining kind of reminds me of that. I am really committed to quarantining because of all of the healthcare professionals in my family (nurses, doctors, technicians, etc.) risking their lives by working with Covid-19 patients. So I don’t go to the grocery store. I have groceries delivered and sometimes, because of high demand, I don’t get a delivery slot for a few days. Oh trust me, we aren’t starving, but it sometimes makes you have to work a little harder at meal planning. You’d make this, but you don’t have that, etc.
Tonight was one of those nights. My husband loves Italian, especially spaghetti and meatballs (you will hear more about that in my next post! We will have a guest contributor) but I didn’t have any ground beef. Then I was going to make ricotta and spinach dumplings but I didn’t have any ricotta or the ingredients to make my own (which I make quite often). Well, you get the picture so I took inventory and designed my own casserole. It’s not that novel, the ingredients aren’t weird, somebody probably has already made it somewhere sometime but, throw me a bone here.
I had a pound of thawed bulk mild italian sausage (not in casings). I always have tons of home canned tomatoes, onions, italian herbs and carrots (they make your sauce sweeter). So I made a quick tomato sauce. I always have pasta so I boiled some rigatoni. I love how the sauce gets inside the noodles! I browned the sausage and added it to the sauce. Now what. Hmmmm. Next I spread about a third of the sauce on the bottom of a round casserole dish and layered some of the pasta I had just prepared. I had about half to 3/4 of an 8 oz. cottage cheese container so I spread that on. Next, more sauce, noodles and some grated mozzerella, more sauce, noodles the remainder of the sauce and topped with parmesan (a mix of freshly grated and dried from a can on top. Then I baked it for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.
To say it was a hit would be putting it mildly. It probably took me 30 minutes to throw it all together and I’m sure other variations would be great. Throw in some pepperoni, use ground beef or slices of hot and/or mild Italian sausage. Maybe some spinach. What was fun was that it reminded me of the good old days when I couldn’t afford, time or money to run to the store for something I needed.
The only thing I regret is that I forgot to take pictures. Rats. I’ll use stock photos to jazz it up for now and take pictures to replace them next time I make this. My husband says it better be soon.
Here is a better breakdown of the recipe:
Accidental Lasagne Casserole
1 lb. dried pasta (I used rigatoni)
1 recipe of spaghetti sauce or a jar of prepared sauce like Ragu or Prego
8 ish ounces of ricotta cheese or cottage cheese
8 oz. grated mozzarella
Directions and Assembly:
Preheat oven to 350°.
Prepare a simple tomato sauce or open a jar of prepared sauce.
Cook 1 lb. of pasta according to package directions.
Brown sausage and add to sauce.
Layer sauce thinly in the bottom of a casserole dish. (Don’t forget to spray it with non-stick spray). Top that with about 1/3 of the noodles and the cottage cheese or ricotta.
Second layer: sauce, noodles and mozzarella cheese.
Third layer sauce, noodles, more sauce and parmesan cheese.
Bake in overn at 350° for about 45 minutes or until it lightly browned and bubbly.
Add a salad and there is dinner! Try different combinations or additions and let me know what works.