I'm a working mom. I sometimes don't have time to make a pot of marinara sauce. A great alternative is to use a good jar of marinara sauce this cuts the prep time almost in half.
Choose a good marinara sauce wisely. Quality and flavor differs greatly. I doctored the sauce with fresh additions to give it a homemade flavor. No one will know the difference😁
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add salt. Add the lasagna noodles and cook according to the package directions.When It has cooked drain and hang over the pot so it won't stick.(see step 22)
Let's start by chopping our onion
Take your garlic clove and give it a little smash using the back of a knife
Like I'm doing
Take a nice heavy pot, set it over medium low heat and pour in about 2tbs of extra virgin olive oil
Once the oil is hot add the onions
Followed by the garlic
Cook this gently, we want to sweat the onions and not burn the garlic.
Add some basil to the oil. This will flavor it . In case you are wondering the small cube is frozen basil. See my guide on this(https://snapguide.com/guides/freeze-herbs/. Use fresh at this point
Add the red wine and let it reduce to half of what you added to the pot. DO NOT USE the supermarket cooking wine, it is very salty. Buy a good red wine at you local liquor store.
Mine has reduced
Now let's add the Marinara sauce
The sugar. This removes some of the acidity the sauce might have( totally optional)
Take the jar of marinara sauce and fill it with water
Add it to the sauce, let it come up to a slow simmer
Now add your favorite meatballs to the pot of marinara sauce. Make your meatball slightly large. Like the size of a baseball, maybe a little smaller. We will be slicing them
My meatballs have cooked and my sauce is almost done but first I will add more basil to my sauce. This adds another dimension of flavor to the sauce. I love the flavor of basil.
Add in some fresh parsley as well. Cook this for another 10 minutes and than shut off heat the to allow it to cool.
My noodles have cooked the way I like them al dente and I will now drain them. I don't overly cook the noodles since they will cook further in the oven if overcooked the noodles will become mushy😝
In order for the noodles not to stick I drape them over the pot. Do the same it is easier to work with. It may be hot use caution
Now let's work on the filling, shred the mozzarella. TIP: stick the mozzarella in the freezer for about 15-20. Remove and shred it.
In another bowl add the container of ricotta
Add the egg
Add the finely chopped fresh parsley.
And we must not forget The Pecorino Romano cheese. If you do t have this cheese Parmesan cheese can be substituted.☺️
Stir this all well, check for salt add some if needed. I didn't add since the cheese is quite salty
The sauce has cooled a bit. I will remove the meatballs onto a shallow pan to let it cool down before slicing.
Once we are done with layering the lasagna you will have extra sauce, save it to pour over the lasagna when serving
Cut each meatballs into slices
Put them aside using care when moving them that they don't fall apart
Let's start assembling our lasagna. Take your lasagna pan. Coat the bottom of the pan slightly with cooking spray(optional)
Add some sauce to cover the entire bottom of the pan
I used 4 noodles for the bottom of this lasagna overlapping each one.
Now generously spread some of the ricotta onto the first layer of noodles
Add some shredded mozzarella cheese on top of the ricotta.
Add some grated cheese as well. I used locatelli Pecorino Romano cheese, I enjoy the flavor. Use any grated cheese you prefer
Now onto the next layer, add three noodles to the top
Take some sauce and slather it over the noodles generously
Take some sliced meatballs and spread them on each noodle. I managed to put one whole sliced meatball on each noodles. I used meatballs for this layer.
This is how it should look
Now take some more sauce and add it to the top of each meatball
Sprinkle some grated cheese too
Now let's make the third layer which will be the second cheesy part.
The ricotta, mozzarella cheese and the grated Pecorino Romano.
Add another layer of noodles. This is now the fourth layer spread some sauce over it
The sliced meatballs is next, add some sauce & put another 3 noodles over it when done. I sneaked in some cooked,chopped up, sweet Italian sausages( totally optional) ☺️
This fifth layer is just like the first layer, ricotta, mozzarella and grated cheese. When done add 3 more noodles over this
We have reached our final layer which is the top. We will spread some ricotta first, then pour some sauce over it.
Lastly add lots of mozzarella cheese. Yum
The end result
Spray a piece of aluminum foil with cooking oil and cover the lasagna being careful that the foil doesn't touch the cheese. At this point you can either freeze this lasagna or bake it.
Put the lasagna in a preheated 350f oven for about 40-45min. or cook until the cheese has melted & lasagna is bubbly. Remove foil the last 10 min. and bake uncovered until the top is nice and browned.
I removed the lasagna (I didn't even let it get browned, I was starving☺️) & let it sit for about 10-20 min before cutting. Be gentle & patient if you cut into it too early the lasagna will fall apart
Enjoy with some crusty, hot garlic bread and a side of salad☺️😉
- 1.0 Lasagna, box
- 40.0oz Jar, Victoria marinara sauce
- 1/3c Red wine(not cooking wine)!!
- 1/2 Sm. Onion, chopped
- 4.0 Garlic cloves
- Pecorino romano
- 6.0 Large, Meatballs
- Basil, a few leaves
- Parsley, a few sprigs
- 3.0Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4tsp Sugar
- 1.0 Lge container of Ricotta
- 1.0 Egg
- 1.0Tbsp Fresh parsley, chopped finely
- 1/3c Pecorino romano cheese
- 1.0 Lge Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
- 1.0 9x13 lasagna dish