Freeform Veggie Lasagna Stack
Lasagna is such a labor of love in most people’s minds. Making the sauce, making the filling, cooking the pasta, layering all the things together, and baking it is solidly in the Weekend only category for me these days.
Another slightly annoying thing about lasagna is I feel like I never use all the noodles. I’ll buy a big box of lasagna noodles and be left with like 6 after I make my big masterpiece.
So, what’s a home cook dude to do?
Well, I came up with these fun little freeform stacks, packed with simple roasted veggies, cheese, and sauce, are the perfect use of those leftover noodles and it takes just enough time to make it possible on a weekday.
This is not the Italian lasagna my grandmother knows. It’s a quick fix with certain liberating shortcuts (jarred sauce, etc.), but the results are nothing if not delicious. While you could use a meat sauce or something, I like the clean layers of roasted veggies and tomato sauce. Keep it simple on this one!
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Slice zucchini and squash longwise to be about 1/4 inch thick. Place them on a baking sheet in a single layer and drizzle with olive oil. Season the veggies with salt, pepper, and dried thyme.
- Roast veggies for about 15 minutes until they are wilted around the edges and cooked through. Remove.
- Cook lasagna noodles according to package, but cook them until they are al dente and good to eat straight out of the pot (not undercooked slightly as if you were baking them). Also heat marinara sauce gently on the stove over low heat.
- To make a stack, add a little marinara to a plate and top with half a cooked lasagna noodle. Then top with a piece of roasted squash, a small handful of grated cheese, and a spoonful of hot marinara sauce. Repeat with another noodle, zucchini, cheese, and sauce. Top the stack with a final half noodle and add a small smear of sauce to the top. Garnish with grated parmesan cheese and fresh parsley. You should use about 1 1/2 noodles per stack, but it’s always good to boil a few extra in case they break or you want more pasta.
NOTE: Ideally, you would pull the noodles straight from the pot and plate them so they are still warm and will help melt the mozzarella. If you do this, drain the noodles well or you’ll have a lot of water on each plate. You can also blot each noodle with a paper towel.
Freeform Veggie Lasagna Stack
Okay. Let’s roast some squash and zucchini! I like to slice them about 1/4-inch thick and then drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and dried thyme.
Roast these suckers for about 15 minutes at 400 degrees F. They should be wilted and slightly browned around the edges and roasted through. You can turn off the oven and keep them warm in the oven if you want.
For the pasta, use your scraps! If you have a few broken lasagna sheets, toss them in. You’ll need 6-8 lasagna sheets to feed four with these stacks.
Boil these lasagna sheets until they are edible. Normally, I’d say to undercook them slightly if you were going to bake them, but ideally you can pull them straight from the hot pot and start building the stacks so the warm pasta will help melt the cheese.
Building the stacks is quick and easy! My only tip is that if you are moving the pasta from the pot to the plate (which is good) dab each noodle with some paper towels to pull away some of the water. Otherwise you’ll have a puddle on your plate.
Add a spoon of warmed marinara to a plate and top with half of a noodle. Then add some roasted veggies and grated cheese.
Then ladle some hot marinara over the veggies and cheese. Top with another noodle, more veggies, more cheese, more sauce, another noodle, and a final smear of sauce.
Garnish with some grated parmesan cheese and fresh parsley and you’re in business!
I was kind of surprised how fancy these freeform lasagna stacks ended up looking. At the end of it, they are a really simple way to use up extra veg or pasta you have around the kitchen, but they have all the same flavors and layers of a dish that would take much longer!