This is a great way to quickly satisfy a lasagna craving without having to spend hours making a ragù sauce, then making , then assembling and baking for an hour. It's even faster and easier if you already have a simple tomato sauce (pummarola) made, or if you have leftover ragù sauce (or really any other sufficiently liquidy pasta sauce) that you've already made, you can certainly use that instead.
*(If you use dried lasagna noodles, you'll need to boil and drain them according to the package instructions before using them in this recipe. If you use no-boil or fresh noodles, you can use them directly, without any pre-cooking.)
Other optional additions:
- grilled or pan-fried slices of eggplant or zucchini
- thin slices of ham or prosciutto
- sauteed mushrooms
- any other cheeses you like -- try using buffalo mozzarella for more flavor, for a richer dish, or scamorza (a smoked mozzarella) for an earthy, smoky taste
- sprinkle toasted breadcrumbs on top before baking
- FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE:
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons finely minced shallot
- 2 cups (472 ml) tomato puree (passata di pomodoro)
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2-3 fresh basil leaves, finely minced (plus a few more whole leaves for garnish, optional)
- FOR THE LASAGNA:
- *5-6 sheets of boiled-and-drained dried lasagna noodles OR dry no-boil/oven-ready lasagna noodles OR fresh lasagna noodles (I used about 5-1/2 sheets of Barilla No-Boil Lasagna Noodles)
- 1 large ball (about 125 grams or ounces) fresh mozzarella or buffalo mozzarella, cut into small pieces
- 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- *(If you use dried lasagna noodles, you'll need to boil and drain them according to the package instructions before using them in this recipe. If you use no-boil or fresh noodles, you can use them directly, without any pre-cooking.)
To make the tomato sauce:
In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallot and saute, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 1 to 2 minutes or until softened and fragrant. Add the tomato puree, salt, and basil, cover and let simmer over low heat for about 5 to 10 minutes, or until flavorful.
To assemble and cook the lasagna:
Spoon a ladleful of the tomato sauce into the bottom of a large, non-stick skillet and spread it evenly over the bottom.
Place a layer of lasagna noodles on top (you can overlap the noodles slightly, but not too much -- you can break or cut smaller pieces to fill in the edges as needed. Note, however, that as the lasagna cooks and softens, the noodles will spread and fill in the gaps.). Cover this layer of noodles with another layer of sauce, then place about 1/3 of the mozzarella pieces on top, evenly spaced, and sprinkle with 1/3 of the grated Parmigiano. Cover with another layer of pasta, and then another layer of sauce and cheese. For the final layer: another layer of noodles, spread with sauce and topped with the cheeses. (This recipe should make about 3 layers of noodles, depending on the size of your pan -- you can do fewer or more, but don't use more than 4 layers of pasta.)
Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of water around the edges of the skillet to help the noodles cook. Cover and cook over low heat for about 20 minutes, or until the lasagna noodles are al dente (test with the tip of a knife). (Check the lasagna occasionally while cooking -- if it seems like it's getting too dry, you can add a bit more water -- just a little bit at a time.) Remove the lid from the skillet in the last couple of minutes to allow the lasagna to dry out a bit. If you'd like to brown the top, you can place it under a broiler for 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the lasagna to a large platter, garnish with a few fresh basil leaves (optional), cut into squares (or wedges) and serve hot.