Dream Dishes: Shae Connor’s No-Boiling-Needed Lasagna

November 30, 2015

Lasagna has long been one of my favorite foods, and it’s turned up in several of my stories as a result, including one I’m currently working on for Dreamspinner. No matter how it works its way into a story—even if someone orders it in a restaurant—I’m always thinking of this recipe when I write it. (And probably getting a craving!)

I don’t know where my mom originally got the idea to make lasagna without cooking the noodles first, but we’ve been using this method as long as I can remember. It’s an inexact science; sometimes the noodles are a little underdone, and sometimes things comes out a little soupy. It doesn’t matter, though, because the taste is always great.

I do know why she started using cottage cheese instead of ricotta—we never had much money, and ricotta is way more expensive! I’ve switched to using half of each most of the time, but you can also make it with all ricotta if you prefer. I like the difference in texture from the cottage cheese.

You can also add browned ground beef to the layering, mix chopped veggies into the sauce, or add baby spinach to the cheese mixture. I prefer it just like this, though, served with garlic bread and a green salad.

 

No-Boiling-Needed Lasagna

26-ounce jar pasta sauce (any kind, with any additional spices you like)
8 ounces cottage cheese
8 ounces ricotta cheese
1 egg
About 1 quart water
12-ounce box lasagna noodles
16 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
3 to 4 ounces grated Parmesan cheese

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Use pan spray to coat the bottom and sides of a 13 by 9 baking pan.

Pour the pasta sauce into a large bowl, refill the jar with water, and add to the sauce, mixing well. In a smaller bowl, mix the cottage and ricotta cheese, the egg, and about a cup of water.

Spread a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of the pan. Arrange one layer of uncooked noodles on top of the sauce (break in half or break off corners if needed to fit). Cover noodles with about one-third of the remaining sauce, then half the cheese mixture, then about one-third of the mozzarella. Repeat layers: noodles, sauce, cheese mixture, shredded cheese. Top with another layer of noodles, the remaining sauce, and the remaining mozzarella. Sprinkle with Parmesan.

Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake for 45 minutes. (Place a cookie sheet under the pan to catch any spills.) Remove from oven and test noodles for doneness; they should be just al dente. If not, re-cover and continue baking, testing at 10-minute intervals. Once noodles are al dente, uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes, until cheese is fully melted and top begins to brown.

Remove lasagna from oven. If it appears soupy, let it sit about 15 minutes before serving for the remaining liquid to absorb.

About Shae

Shae Connor lives in Atlanta, where she’s a lackadaisical government worker for a living and writes sweet-hot romance under the cover of night. She’s been making things up for as long as she can remember, but it took her a long time to figure out that maybe she should try writing them down. Her fourth novel, Nobody’s Son, was released November 16.

Shae is part Jersey, part Irish, and all Southern, which explains why she never shuts up. You can find her hanging out on Twitter most any time @shaeconnor, but for the more direct route, you can email her at shaeconnorwrites[at]gmail[dot]com or visit her website at shaeconnorwrites.com.

 

One Response to “Dream Dishes: Shae Connor’s No-Boiling-Needed Lasagna”

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