I’m suddenly surrounded by Cubs fans. And last night I found myself in front of a giant living room TV rooting on a team that is perfectly acceptable to support in the middle of Red Sox Nation because (1) they are not the Yankees and (2) the Cubbies clubhouse is packed with former Red Sox affiliates. Plus, nobody understands a Cubs fan’s pain quite like a Red Sox fan.
So GO CUBS!
I offered to bring lasagna to the watch party and settled on this super easy recipe because I didn’t have a lot of time in between weekend activities to boil my own noodles and prepare a lot of vegetables.
So this is as easy as it comes: oven-ready noodles, marinara sauce straight from the jar, canned tomatoes, a few dried spices and prepared cheeses and – boom – you are ready to watch the game.
I arrived with the lasagna all ready to slide into the oven and with a 5:30 p.m. game the 45 minute bake time gave us room to work up an appetite and cheer on that incredibly creative 2nd inning against the Cardinals (2 bunts! a steal!).
Meaty lasagna is a great fall food and with plenty of games left in the post-season (we really, really hope) an easy casserole that feeds a crowd is a great recipe to keep handy and fortify against all that anxiety that comes with the hope that maybe this is the year they will finally go all the way.
Super easy lasagna
Serves 6 to 8
1 8-ounce box of oven ready lasagna
1 1b. ground beef
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 cups marinara sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 15-ounce container of part-skim ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the bottom of a 9- x 13-inch casserole dish and set aside.
2. In a large sauce pan or dutch oven pot cook beef on medium high heat until browned, drain off fat.
3. Stir in tomatoes, marinara sauce, oregano, and basil. Let simmer over low heat.
4. Lightly beat egg in a bowl and then add the ricotta cheese. Stir until combined.
5. To layer the lasagna: Cover the bottom of the casserole dish with a layer of the meat sauce.
6. Lay three pieces of the oven-ready lasagna width wise, making sure that there is space between each lasagna piece and the edge of the dish (the pasta will expand in the oven).
7. Using half of the ricotta and egg mixture, cover each piece of lasagna. Add another layer of meat sauce over the top of the pasta pieces.
8. Add 1 cup of the shredded mozzarella over the layer of the meat sauce.
9. Repeat the layers of pasta, the remaining ricotta, meat sauce, and the remaining mozzarella cheese.
10. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the top layer of mozzarella.
11. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes total. After 30 minutes, remove the aluminum foil.
12. Let the lasagna rest for 5 to 10 minutes and then cut into slices with a sturdy spatula and serve.