Cheese and tomato lasagna recipe

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A cheesy, bubbling lasagna is the pinnacle of comfort food. We wanted a rich and appealing version that could be made with minimal effort (and minimal dishes), and decided to do everything in our Dutch oven from simmering the sauce to assembling and baking the casserole. We started building a flavorful sauce by sautéing onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes. We then briefly simmered a combination of canned crushed tomatoes and canned diced tomatoes, which gave our sauce just the right consistency. Adding a little bit of extra water to the sauce ensured that the noodles could fully hydrate in the sauce. After cooking the sauce, we emptied the pot and layered the lasagna as we would in a casserole dish, with the tomato sauce, a ricotta-egg mixture, no-boil lasagna noodles, and plenty of Parmesan and mozzarella. Once our lasagna was assembled, we topped it with more cheese and transferred the pot to the oven. In 30 minutes we had the bubbly, cheesy top and perfectly cooked pasta we were looking for, all made in a single pot. Do not substitute nonfat ricotta or fat-free mozzarella here. We find it best to use the edge of the counter to break the lasagna noodles in half. Don’t worry if a few noodles break unevenly or into more than two pieces; just be sure to create a uniform layer when shingling the pieces in step 3.

  • Yield: 6 Servings
  • Total Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 12 ounces (1½ cups) whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (2 cups)
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 12 no-boil lasagna noodles, broken in half crosswise
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
How to Make It
  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and ½ teaspoon salt and cook until onion is softened and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in garlic and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes and their juice, bring to simmer, and cook until sauce is thickened and reduced to 4 cups, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer sauce to bowl and stir in water.
  2. Combine ricotta, egg, oregano, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper in separate bowl. Combine mozzarella and Parmesan in third bowl.
  3. Spread ¾ cup sauce over bottom of now-empty pot. Shingle 7 noodle halves around edge of pot and place 1 noodle half in center. Dollop one-third of ricotta mixture over noodles, then top with one-quarter of mozzarella mixture and one-third of remaining sauce (in that order). Repeat layering twice, beginning with noodles and ending with sauce. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella mixture.
  4. Scrape down exposed sides of pot, then transfer to oven. Bake, uncovered, until lasagna is bubbling around edges and cheese is spotty brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Let lasagna cool for 10 minutes, then sprinkle with basil and serve.
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