Lasagna can be a time consuming dish to make. There are a few ways to cut down on the prep time and by keeping some prime ingreidents on hand you can whip it up in a pinch. My husband loves homemade lasagna and on a cold night it is a good go too. The cooking time helps warm the kitchen and the food helps warm the soul.
I buy regular lasagna noodles and in order to soften them some before placing them in the lasagna I start a frying pan of water on the stove. Bring it to a boil and place in just enough noodles at once so you don’t layer them, you’ll cook them as needed while you are layering your lasagna. They only need to cook for a minute, the goal is to start the softening process which will finish up as they bake within the lasgna.
In a large bowl add a large container of ricotta cheese, a small container of sour cream and 4 to 5 eggs. Mix this really well with a fork and then add your spices. I use about a tablespoon of oregano and about a tablesoon of black pepper but add the spices you like. I then finely cut up about 5 large cloves of garlic and add it and again mix well. Now add a couple cans of tomato paste to the mixture.
I set out either my large deep cast iron pan or my cast iron dutch over depending on how much I want to make. A tip though is to use the dutch oven no matter what because if you overfill the large pan it will bubble over and yes that is experince talking. I open a can of fire roasted muir glen tomatoes, unless it is summer time then I stick a bunch of fresh tomatoes in my food processor, pour a can of them in the bottom of the cast iron and build from there. I do this to help the bottom layer of noodle from burning. Place a few noodles in the boiling water give them a minute and then put them in the cast iron while you add a few more noodles to the water and then pour your mixture over the top of the noodles. At this point I usually open a second can of fire roasted tomatoes and pour half on top and then add more noodles, more mixture and repeat for how every many layers you want. Typically I do 3 layers of noodles and then any extra of the mixture I pour over the top or if there is a lot left I freeze it for use in something else. One addition I do if I have it on hand is add mozzarella to each layer. It is a nice cheesy touch.
Put the lid on your dutch oven and let it cook on the stove top on a medium heat for 30 minutes or so. If they noodles aren’t yet soft enough just let them cook longer. I usually do 30 minutes and then turn the heat off for about half an hour. If you start to smell it burning turn off your heat and keep it covered because the great thing about cast iron is how it holds it heat and your food will continue to cook but more gently.
You may have realized by now there is no meat in this recipe. I put meat in if I have it on hand. Last night I had a little ground beef and a little ground pork so before hand I cooked about a 1/4 to 1/2 pound of each and added it in to my mixture.
You can make a small batch or a large batch but in my opinion a large batch is better. If you are going to do the work make enough to freeze for later.
Good Luck and enjoy! Stay warm on these cold winter days!
Happy Holidays and Bright Blessings,