LUCY BURDETTE: I've made plenty of stuffed shells in my day but never a lasagna. So with company coming and lots of work on my desk, I decided now was the time. This version is tweaked from the Mueller's pasta box, and I used spinach rather than meat sauce. The cheater part comes in because the noodles don't have to be pre-boiled. I did substitute fresh mozzarella for the packaged dried cheese, which is high in sodium. I had never tried this before and was not quite certain it would work…here goes...
24 ounces ricotta cheese
8 ounces fresh mozzarella
24 ounce jar good marinara sauce (like Gia Russa Sicilian)
Two packages frozen spinach
Eight fresh basil leaves, if you have them
Fresh grated Parmesan
One package oven-ready lasagna noodles
Thaw the spinach and squeeze it dry. Shred the mozzarella. Grate the Parmesan. Snip the basil into shreds.
Mix the cheeses, the dried spinach, basil, and the eggs in a large bowl.
Grease a 9 x 13 pan. In the bottom of the pan, spread one third of the sauce. Cover the sauce with dried noodles (about 3 1/2.)
Spread one half of the cheese spinach mixture on top of the noodles.
Top the cheese mixture with another layer of lasagna noodles. Spread one third of the sauce over those noodles.
Add the remainder of the cheese mixture, top with more noodles, finish with the rest of the sauce and some grated Parmesan.
Cover with an oiled piece of aluminum foil. Bake at 375 for about 50 minutes. Remove the foil and bake 10 minutes more. Let sit for 10 to minutes before serving with a green salad and fresh bread.
And the results were declared delicious by the guests--that's what counts, right? (And it didn't take all day...which is good, because I needed to be working on Food Critic Mystery #8!) And once again, while busy serving, I forgot to take a great photo of the finished dinner!
Lucy writes the Key West food critic mysteries. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!