Baked Pasta
[1] Instead of lasagna, make this pasta bake. Add chicken for a Chicken Parm fusion.

Delallo Tomato Passata
[2] Delallo Tomato Passata (puree) forms the sauce. You can find it in stores or online. (photos #1 and #2 © DeLallo).

Panko
[3] Panko, Japanese-style crunchy breadcrumbs, are our favorite. We no longer use conventional breadcrumbs for breading (photo © Progresso).

 

We count ourselves among the lasagna lovers who eagerly order it at restaurants, but don’t have the energy to make it at home.

We found a great hacks in Ravioli Lasagna, where sheets of ravioli are layered in between the cheese.

(Since it’s the first day of fall, here are recipes for Pumpkin Lasagna and Pumpkin Ravioli Lasagna.)

Today’s hack is simply a pasta bake with tomato sauce, mozzarella and parmesan: the ingredients of lasagna in an easy-to-throw-together dish.

You can use any “short cut” of pasta, from:

  • Tubular pasta, such as elbows, penne, rigatoni, trenne and ziti.
  • Shaped pasta, such as fusilli (corkscrews), gemelli, orecchiette, ruote (wagon wheels), small shells and strozzapreti.
  •  
    Check out all the types of pasta in our Pasta Glossary.

    This recipe, which was contributed to the DeLallo recipe archive by Love & Olive Oil, adds chicken breasts as protein. If you don’t want the chicken, adapt the recipe to pasta only.

    But chicken turns it into a different hommage recipe: Chicken Parmesan.
     
     
    RECIPE: LASAGNA HACK & CHICKEN PARM HACK

    Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 jar (24 ounces) tomato purée
  • 2 medium chicken breasts (about 1 pound), cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound dried pasta
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • Dried Italian herb seasoning blend (here’s the recipe if you want to blend your own)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 3-quart casserole dish with cooking spray.

    2. BRING a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile…

    3. HEAT the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the onion is softened and fragrant.

    4. ADD the tomato purée and bring it to a simmer. Add the chicken and simmer for about 10 minutes or until sauce is thickened slightly and chicken is just cooked through. Stir in the fresh basil and season generously with salt and pepper. Meanwhile…

    5. COOK the pasta in boiling water until it is not quite al dente (subtract 2-3 minutes from the cooking time listed on the package). Reserve a cup of the pasta water before draining the pasta.

     
    6. USE a large slotted spoon to strain pasta and transfer it to the sauce. Add a few splashes of pasta water and stir until the pasta is evenly coated with sauce.

    7. TRANSFER half of the pasta to the prepared casserole dish, spreading into an even layer. Sprinkle with half of mozzarella and half of parmesan cheese. Top with the remaining pasta, followed by the rest of the cheese.

    8. SPRINKLE with the breadcrumbs and Italian herb seasoning. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the pasta is heated through*. If desired, broil for 2 to 3 minutes at the very end until cheese is browned in spots. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
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    *If your pasta was cool or cold when you put it in the oven—for example if you made the pasta ahead of time and refrigerated it overnight—it will likely need more time.

      


    THE NIBBLE Blog – Adventures In The World Of Fine Food

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