01 February 2008

Quick & Easy Lasagna Pasta

My recipe for lasagna has evolved into what I now call "Lasagna Pasta," becuase it is faster, easier, and tastes the same.  This isn't a recipe for you Lasagna purists, who like to see all of the little layers piled up on your plate.  This is for you Lasgana lovers who want the flavor of lasagna, but need to get dinner ready in about 30-45 minutes.

I was first introduced to this concept by my friend, Dawn, who calls her recipe "Bow Tie Pasta Cassarole."  Her recipe includes some sour cream and cheddar cheese, which I now leave out.
I have shared this recipe with my Dad, who calls his recipe "Bow Tie Pie."  I think he may add italian sausage, which I also do from time to time.  So, without further ado...

Carrie's Lasagna Pasta
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, with juice (with or without italian seasoning)
1 (about 28 oz?) jar low-fat marinara sauce  (my current favorite is Spicy Tomato Basil by Classico)
1 bag of washed and ready baby or leaf spinach
1 12-16 oz box Farfalle or Bow Tie pasta
1-1 1/2 cups low-fat ricotta cheese (or small curd cottage cheese)
1-1 1/2 cups of shredded 2% mozarella cheese
Shredded parmesean to taste

Boil pasta, according to directions on box, to the more firm side of al dente. Drain, and set aside.

Brown the meat in a stockpot or dutch oven, and drain any fat.  Add diced tomatoes and marinara sauce and heat to a low simmer.  **Last night, since I had leftover bolognese sauce, I just added the tomatoes and about half the marinara to my leftovers.**
Tear the spinach into large pieces, and add to sauce. Cook, stirring occasionally, until spinach is wilted.
Mix ricotta and pasta in a large (2-3 quart) cassarole dish.  Gradually add sauce, stirring, until the mixture is just to the top of the dish.

**Last night, I added a layer of sliced provolone cheese, since I had it left from my Cuban sandwich. It was so good, I may do this from now on.  It added an extra layer of chewy, cheesiness. Since I use low-fat everything else, I think this is an okay addition. I may try to find a 2% provolone in the future.**

Cover the top with a generous layer of mozarella. I also add a bit of parmesean for added flavor.

Pop it in the oven at 375┬║ for about 20 to 30 minutes, or until browned and bubbly.

Serve with any leftover sauce,if you like, and shredded parmesean.

This pasta only gets better with leftovers, and I've been known to eat it for lunch everyday for 3 or 4 days afterward.

Last night we watched the season premiere of Lost. Hmmmm....

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