We had guests over this week, on a night that I had to work late. While I knew that the hubby could pull together a wonderful meal of fajitas or something on the grill, the weather has been colder and I thought that it would be nice to have a warm cheesy casserole. After doing a couple of internet searches for an easy make ahead casserole, I decided on this lasagna. After assembly I placed in the refrigerator and the hubby was able to pop it in so that when I got home dinner was ready! This was a wonderful dish and will become part of our monthly dinner rotation, which is saying a lot because I am not a huge fan of lasagna! The meat filling had a very deep and rich flavor which is surprising since it only took 15 - 20 minutes to pull it together!
Adapted from Real Simple
- 12 ounces extra-lean ground beef or ground round
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 26-ounce jar roasted-tomato pasta sauce (or your favorite pasta sauce)
- 1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1/3 cup tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 4 tablespoons shredded fresh basil
- 1 15-ounce container low-fat ricotta
- 1 cup shredded provolone or Italian-blend cheese
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 12 cooked lasagna noodles
- 1 8-ounce package 2 percent milk mozzarella, shredded
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan, divided
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cook the beef in a large saucepan over medium heat, breaking into small pieces. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the pasta sauce, tomatoes, vinegar, tomato paste and 2 tablespoons of the basil. Bring the mixture to a boil; reduce heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
- In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, provolone, 2 tablespoons of the basil, the egg, and the crushed red pepper. Place 3/4 cup of the pasta-sauce mixture in the bottom of a 13-by-9-inch baking pan. Top with 3 cooked noodles, then spread a third of the ricotta mixture evenly over the noodles. Sprinkle with a third of the mozzarella and top with 3/4 cup of the pasta-sauce mixture. Repeat the layers, ending with 3/4 cup of the pasta-sauce mixture and the final 3 noodles. Spread the remaining sauce on top, sprinkle with the Parmesan, and cover with foil.
- Bake for 30 minutes; uncover and bake for 15 minutes or until bubbly. Remove from oven. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.
**Since I refrigerated the lasagna, I baked for 45 minutes and set the pan out on the counter while the oven pre-heated. **