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No problem! Some quick background on the concept: I love to cook and realized that I often had to adjust my meal plan to accomodate for for my friends and family with dietary requirements when they joined me for a meal.  More often than not, I didn’t know how to modify my recipe to address their dietary needs which launched me into some deep research and left me with a lot of fear, uncertainty and doubt that I was preparing the recipe the right way for my guest.  A concept that I now call Meal Planning FUD [fear, uncertainty and doubt]. To combat Meal Planning FUD each of my recipes has eight variations which covers everything from vegetarian to Kosher to gluten-free so that you can cut the Meal Planning FUD out of your life and feel comfortable serving the recipe to a variety of guests. Check out the SooN Cooking About page for the complete details.

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Other Critical Information

Math Alert! Each lasagna pan is different so you need to first determine how many lasagna noodles you will need by laying them out in a single layer in your pan and then doing some quick math.  It will be super disappointing if you have to run to the store in the middle of your operation because you needed three more noodles. The good news is, once you figure this out for your specific pan − you can make note of it and skip this step in the future.

To put some actual numbers to this…say you are using the loaf pan.  What you would discover is that the Barilla Pasta Oven-Ready noodles fit perfectly in the pan and a single noodle will cover your surface area.  Each “layer” is comprised of a lasagna noodle sandwich with ricotta cheese as the filling.  I recommend three layers in the lasagna so the math for the lasagna noodles in this pan would look like this: (1 lasagna noodle + ricotta filling + 1 lasagna noodle) * 3 = 6 lasagna noodles. There are 9 lasagna noodles in each Barilla Pasta Ove-Ready box.

Suggested Hardware

 

  • Lasagna pan − This piece of hardware depends on how many people you plan to serve the lasagna to.  I often make one lasagna for serving immediately and one for freezing and serving in the future (Serve and Reserve). Lasagna is also my go-to food gift for friends, co-workers and family that need a little dinner help.  Depending on my use case, I pick from one of three pan types:
    1. Lasagna pan: this is the complete lasagna package and probably one of my best Amazon kitchen purchases.  It is the perfect depth for lasagna, serves 8-10 so is great for a larger group/family dinner and the stainless steel makes cleanup super easy.
    2. Disposable loaf pan with lid: perfect for 2-3 servings at a time. I always have a loaf pan lasagna in my freezer for a quick meal when I am traveling or we are just having a crazy week. I’ll make 1 of these for every 2 people I am cooking for.
  • Cutting board
  • Lasagna Server
  • Microplane
  • Cuisinart Food Processor
  • Chef’s knife
  • Tasting spoons (from your flatware set – these are mine)

Ingredients

 

  • 1 lbs Fresh Pasta Sheets or 1 box lasagna noodles (when I don’t have time to make fresh pasta, I use Barilla Pasta, Oven-Ready)
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 2 cups Meat Sauce (see my recipe here)
  • 64 oz whole milk ricotta
  • 16 oz burrata
  • 16 oz chopped fresh mozzarella
  • 2 cups microplaned Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Cooking spray

Step-by-Step Photos

Prep the cheese

crack the burrata

use a spoon

to extract the filling

set aside

chop the mozzarella

microplane the parmesan

keep each cheese separate

use the Cuisinart

to chop the spinach

add the ricotta

mix spinach and ricotta evenly

Make your layers.  A “layer” is comprised of a lasagna noodle sandwich.

cover a noodle with filling

add another noodle to make a sandwich

make enough layers to cover the pan at least 3x

Sauce it up and add the cheese

cover each layer with 1/2-inch of sauce

top layer with mozzarella

repeat at least 2x

drop the burrata filling on the top layer

distribute evenly like cookie dough; finish with parmesan

side view!

cook for 45-minutes

finish by broiling 1-2 minutes until brown

cool 5 minutes; serve and enjoy

SooN COOKING Original

  1. Prep the cheese by microplaning the parmesan and split evenly into thirds.
  2. Chop the mozzarella and split evenly in half.
  3. Use the Cuisinart to chop the spinach.  Once it is chopped finely, add the ricotta cheese so that the spinach blends in with the ricotta and the ricotta turns green.
  4. Spray the pan with Pam.
  5. Make a your layers. A “layer” is comprised of a lasagna noodle sandwich like this: (1 lasagna noodle + spinach-ricotta filling + 1 lasagna noodle) * enough layers to cover the surface area of your pan. I recommend 3 layers per lasagna.
  6. Fill your pan with the first layer.
  7. Cover with about 1/2 inch of meat sauce.
  8. Sprinkle each type of prepped cheese over the sauce layer.
  9. Repeat this process twice more.
  10. On the last layer start by evenly spreading the remaining parmesan on top.
  11. Now “crack” your burrata ball and use the teaspoon to evenly distribute the burrata filling on the top layer (similar to when you plop cookie dough on a sheet for baking).
  12. Bake at 375° F for 45 minutes.
  13. To finish, and to brown and bubble the burrata – broil on low for 1-2 minutes.  Keep your eye on it so it doesn’t burn too much – I often have to turn the lasagna pan a few times to get the edge sections browned.

SooN COOKING Express

Lasagna is labor intensive which is why I generally use the Serve or Reserve method. These SooN COOKING EXPRESS directions are for your reserve lasagna.

  1. You will want to follow all the steps outlined in the SooN Original version.
  2. Instead of cooking for 45 minutes at 375° F, you will only cook your reserve lasagna for 25 minutes.  In doing so, you are effectively pre-cooking the reserve lasagna which will make reheating it much faster in the future.
  3. Let the lasagna cool and cover.  All of the pans in the “Suggested Hardware” section come with their own lids.  However, I typically cover the cooled lasagna with a layer of saran wrap before covering and freezing to keep freezer burn to a minimum.
  4. Use a freezer label and write the contents (meat lasagna) the date with the following cooking directions: cook 30 minutes at 375° F, finish by broiling on high to brown and bubble the burrata.
  5. Place in freezer for future use.  You will be able to plop this frozen reserve lasagna directly into the freezer when you need it in the future. PLEASE DON’T FORGET TO REMOVE THE SARAN WRAP IF YOU USED IT!!!!

 

SooN COOKING Vegetarian

Substitute the the SooN COOKING ORIGINAL MEAT SAUCE with the SooN COOKING ORIGINAL MARINARA SAUCE and follow then follow the SooN COOKING ORIGINAL recipe above.  This will give you a nice spinach lasagna. Also check out the SooN COOKING ORIGINAL VEGETABLE LASAGNA recipe − but that is an entirely separate main dish so you’d really need to commit your entire day to cooking if you wanted to do both.

Not familiar with a Vegetarian diet? Learn more using the SooN LIVING Dietary Requirements Decoder.

 

SooN COOKING Kosher

Mixing meat with dairy is the #1 no-no in a Kosher diet.  For lasagna, I prefer all the cheesey goodness to the meat so I’d recommend the SooN COOKING VEGETARIAN recipe for a Kosher guest. If you’d prefer meat, I’d next recommend making the meat sauce with Kosher beef and serving it over pasta (hold the parmesan topping).  If that still doesn’t do it for you, you can follow the SooN COOKING ORIGINAL recipe and substitute the dairy products with vegan cheese.  HOWEVER.  I have not tried it and have no idea how meat sauce paired with cashew based dairy substitutes will taste.  If you do attempt to make it this way, let me know how it turned out in the comments section!

Not familiar with a Kosher diet? Learn more using the SooN LIVING Dietary Requirements Decoder.

 

SooN COOKING Halal

Research tells me that there is no restriction for mixing meat and dairy in a Halal diet and the SooN COOKING ORIGINAL recipe will be sufficient as a result. However, there is some sensitivity around the rennin used in curdling milk so I’d check with your guest on their dairy preference.  It may be as simple as substituting kosher or vegetarian cheese.  If you do prepare this dish for someone who follows a Halal diet − let me know how it went in the comments section!

Not familiar with a Halal diet? Learn more using the SooN LIVING Dietary Requirements Decoder.

 

SooN Celiac

Use gluten-free lasagna noodles and follow the SooN COOKING ORIGINAL recipe which otherwise has no wheat products and would be perfect for someone who has Celiac or is gluten-free.  You can also substitute layers of Creamy Parmesan Polenta for the noodles. I serve lasagna EVERY Christmas Eve and my brother tells me he prefers the Polenta version.  Let me know how your Celiac eater enjoyed it in the comments section!

Not familiar with a Celiac diet? Learn more using the SooN LIVING Dietary Requirements Decoder.

SooN COOKING for One

“Lasagna” is one of those dishes that requires a significant investment of your time to create. As such, I wouldn’t reccommend making this dish as a single portion because the return on your time investment would be hard to justify.

That said, if you want to make a single portion, here are the steps:

  • single square food mold
  • enough pasta sheets to create 3 layers in your mold [if using dried sheets you will need to cook the sheets in boiling water until they are soft enough for you to cut them to size]
  •  8 oz whole milk ricotta
  • 1/2 cup fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup Meat Sauce [recipe here]
  • 1 burrata ball — reserve 4 oz cheese filling for top and use the remaining cheese throughout the lasagna layers, any remaining cheese could be eaten on a fresh piece of bread while cooking the lasagna!
  • 1/2 cup microplaed Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Cooking spray

Follow the directions in the SooN COOKING Original recipe and enjoy!

 

SooN COOKING for Kids

“Lasagna” was one of the first things I fed to my kids.  Though it was really just the components of the lasagna instead of an actual lasagna.  Cubes of fresh mozerella, meat sauce and the spinach ricotta mixture were my first child’s favorite foods. If you are still in the early solid food stage with your kiddos, give this a try.  If you are well past that point then I’m hopeful your kids will not reject the lasagna because of its green layers. For us, it has been a handy workaround to sneaking spinach into my kids’ diets.

A deep dive into the recipe…

 

Lasagna, or rather, FROZEN lasagna was on the weekly dinner rotation in my childhood home. Specifically, Safeway’s private label vegetarian lasagna, which had corn in it. [???]

It is probably for this reason I did not discover the PURE GENIUS behind MEAT lasagna until I studied abroad in Italy at age 23!!!!

After ordering it on a whim, I immediately fell in love with the delicious balance that layers of pasta, meat sauce, and multiple varieties of cheese can bring to your mouth in one bite.  Shortly after, my four roommates and I reverse engineered it, because “when in Rome” [we literally were living in Rome].  It was on our weekly dinner rotation for the rest of the semester.

Over the years I have tested a number of different techniques to land on this specific step-by-step process.

I do want to be very clear: while you will have a solid return on your investment — lasagna is HARD WORK.  It is for this reason that I highly recommend you Serve or Reserve™ this one!  You will be so happy you did it later on!

I cannot wait for you to share your lasagna memories or creations in the comments section!

Happy SooN COOKING,

 

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8 Comments

  1. Emily Kroman

    Love this lasagna! Sooo delicious and my go-to recipe for meal trains and freezer dinners. during that newborn period!

    Reply
    • Elisha Herzog

      Thanks for this great feedback Emily!

      Reply
  2. Jared Noury

    The lasagna is amazing! My family and I are going to incorporate this into our meal plan each week along with the Burrata, my son Frankie can’t stop eating it and he’s only a year old. Thank you Elisha for this fantastic service!

    Reply
    • Elisha Herzog

      Jared, what a rave review – I’m thrilled! Frankie might be the youngest fan yet – thank you for sharing!

      Reply
  3. Jessica N.

    Hands down the best lasagna I have ever had! I followed the recipe but used the SooN Cooking vegetarian sauce recipe for spinach lasagna and it was incredible. Love the “noodle sandwiches” and the burrata sprinkled on top. Just can’t get enough of this recipe – wow!

    Reply
    • Elisha Herzog

      Hi Jessica,

      Really appreciate the feedback – I’m thrilled about your reaction to the SooN vegetarian lasagna! Just awesome. 🙂

      Reply
  4. Emily Hartford

    This lasagna is incredibly delicious! SO many amazing layers of goodness and perfectly balanced. There are so many lasagna recipes out there, this one is perfect!

    Reply
    • Elisha Herzog

      Hi Emily, so great to hear you are a fan of the lasagna. Such great feedback!

      Reply

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