Cucina Valentina

Cucina Valentina

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Improvised Mini Lasagna

 So once again, it's a weeknight and I'm scrambling to concoct something out of nothing.  

I am the type of person who likes to put everything to good use.  I cant stand waste, and the following recipe pretty much cleaned out my fridge and freezer of mozzarella prosciutto pinwheel appetizers leftover from last weekend, extra cooked noodles from my last lasagna that I'd tossed in a baggie and froze, and the season's last burst basil of from my garden, which is wonderful.  

Friday is my shopping day, and there is no doubt I will need the room!  

With the addition of a few items I always have on hand, I was able to put together this small, improvised white lasagna.  

The actual full-size version of my white lasagna (recipe to come in the future) takes substantially longer to make and has a multitude more ingredients, but I have no problem going basic and using jarred sauces in a pinch.  The three major brands out there are fantastic.

If there is no fresh basil available, baby spinach or kale is a great substitute.  Normally I would chop it along with some parsley and mix it into the ricotta, but if you are short on time, scattering it works fine.

Now, adding the pinwheels because I did not have any shredded mozzarella was a total improvisation, but it worked great, and the inclusion of prosciutto gave the finished lasagna a great, salty kick.

My beautiful Aunt Theresa, who turned 96 this spring, gave me a tip I always use when ricotta is involved.  Sugar is her secret.  It just does something that elevates plain ricotta in any application, ravioli, manicotti, stuffed shells, squash blossoms, lasagna...  I am not a fan of white refined anything, so I always use either brown sugar or honey.

Sun-dried tomatoes on top was a deviation from my normal routine, that worked.  Their inherent sweetness help cut the richness of the cheeses. 

Got this tip recently online and am happy to say, placing cilantro and parsley in a small pot filled halfway with water really works.  This bunch is going on two weeks!  

Just wash and let dry, trim stem ends and stand upright in pot.  Place a plastic bag over the top.  (With regard to the plastic bag, I have no idea why, but if it works, don't fix it!)

The end result was, albeit miniature, a rich, delicious spin on traditional white lasagna that took a fraction of the time and was every bit as satisfying.

Improvised Mini Lasagna

15 oz Ricotta Cheese
2 eggs
3/4 C Parmesan (plus more for top)
1 t Honey
1 T Lemon Zest
1/4 t Nutmeg
Salt and White Pepper to taste
1 lb Mozzarella Prosciutto Pinwheels
Sun-dried Tomatoes - chopped
Fresh Basil and Parsley 
6 Lasagne Noodles
15 oz jar Alfredo Sauce

Preheat over to 350.
In bowl, combine first seven ingredients until smooth.  Pour some Alfredo in the bottom of a 7 x 5 casserole dish then top with two lasagne noodles.  Spread ricotta mixture on noodles.  Scatter a handful of fresh basil on ricotta and top with pinwheels.  Pour a little more Alfredo over pinwheels then top with two more lasagne noodles and start again.  Finish with last two noodles and pour the rest of the Alfredo on top, covering all exposed noodles.  Top with Parmesan, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh chopped parsley and bake 45 minutes or until it is starting to bubble and brown.  Let rest a good 20 minutes so it can firm up.


  1. looking at it makes me want to have seconds and than hit the treadmill!!!! Looks amazing;)

    1. Thank you! Treadmill for sure. I will splurge on the weekends then pay for it during the week!


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