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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Lasagna For One

Most lasagna recipes are designed for lots of people, to be prepared in huge pans, and have about $40 worth of ingredients all in a single dish. But what if you just want to have a quick, refreshing lasagna that isn't stuffed to the gills with a hundred different ingredients? Well, this is a simple and delicious way of making lasagna that only takes one pan and one small baking dish, and can be done quickly as well as with improvisation.

The nicest thing about this style of lasagna is that you don't feel like taking a nap afterward. Because of the fresh herbs, fresh tomato, and citrus it tastes more like spring than winter, which makes it a great lunch time treat.


There is really only one step that should be taken at the beginning, and that is either grating or pureeing your tomatoes. My preferred method is to use a cheese grater with large holes and grate almost the entire tomato. The tomato skin acts as a natural barrier to grating your fingers off, and it's very quick to get through as many tomatoes as you would need.

The Noodles

This recipe only takes two lasagna noodles. Because of this you can reduce the amount of water you need to boil down to very little, but you still need a wide enough pan. The solution I found was simple--use a wide, cast iron Lodge skillet to boil the noodles. Since that is the same pan I'll be using for the sauce, it saves time on clean up.

Bring several cups of water up to a vigorous boil and add some table salt. Add the lasagna noodles and cook until they are bendy and pliable, but not mushy (al dente). Remove the noodles and reserve them for assembly, and discard the pasta water. Place the pan back on the burner and lower the temperature to medium low.

The Sauce
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, grated on a cheese grater or pureed
  • 1/4 lbs sausage, or if you are vegetarian any of the soy based alternatives also taste great (Soysage, for example)
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • Lots of fresh oregano
  • Tablespoon oil
  • Salt to taste
Add the oil to the pan after it has dried from the pasta water, then add the 1/4 sausage/soysage. Break it up into little tiny pieces, as large chunks will make rolling the noodles more difficult later on. Cook until barely done, then add the lemon juice, oregano, and grated or pureed Roma tomatoes. After 30 seconds to a minute, turn the heat off.

Add a little salt and taste. It should have a good bright citrusy taste balancing the sausage and tomato. That pared against an assertive saltiness is what makes this sauce work in my opinion.

  • Ricotta cheese
  • Grated mozzerella
Coat each noodle with Ricotta, then carefully spoon the sauce on top leaving enough left to cover the top of the lasagna. When both noodles are covered, gently roll them up. Try to get them tight, but don't squeeze any of the filling out. Place them in a small baking pan, spoon the last of the sauce on top, then add the grated mozzarella.

Cover with tinfoil and bake in your oven at 375F for 30 minutes. Optionally, broil for a few minutes after it is done to give the cheese a little color. Garnish with your choice of garnishes, but Parmesan and basil are wonderful accompaniments.

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Cheese A Day by Jeremy Pickett is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.
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