When I was working in the kitchen at Rachael’s show a few years ago, one of our favorite discoveries was the “broken lasagna.” Sure a wonderfully layered lasagna is a thing of beauty, but what if I want all that flavor and don’t have all the time to put it together? Bingo! Just break it up.
By stirring no-boil lasagna noodles into a prepared sauce and then baking it like a traditional lasagna, you can easily make a meal for a crowd with all the “wow” factor of a traditional lasagna (and a few spare minutes of “you time”).
Making use of some prepared frozen vegetables will make this meal both satisfying and budget-friendly. If you happen to have some around, feel free to stir in some cooked sweet Italian sausage. I mean, it can only help, right?
One-Pot Broken Florentine Lasagna
Makes 6 to 8 servings
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 bulb fennel, thinly sliced
1 large onion, chopped
Salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons flour
3 1/4 cups milk
2 cloves garlic, grated
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, optional
1 (12-ounce) box frozen cooked squash, defrosted
1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
1 (8- to 9-ounce) box no-boil lasagna noodles
1/2 cup grated cheese, such as Parmigiano-Reggiano, pecorino or locatelli
Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F.
Place a large oven-safe pot over medium heat with the butter and oil. Add the fennel, onion and some salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, 4 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook for 1 minute. Add the milk and bring the liquid up to a bubble, stirring frequently. Simmer the sauce until thickened, about 2 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the garlic, nutmeg (if using), squash and spinach. Adjust the seasoning as needed with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Break each lasagna noodle into 4 to 6 pieces. Stir the noodles into the reserved sauce, tossing them well to evenly coat them. Cover the pot with an oven-safe lid or a piece of aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid or foil from the pot and sprinkle the cheese over the noodles. Return the pot to the oven and continue baking, uncovered, until the cheese is golden brown and the noodles are tender, 12 to 15 minutes.
Let the finished lasagna rest for 5 minutes before serving.
NOTE: If you have one available, a Dutch Oven is perfect for this recipe. The heaviness of the pot will retain the heat well during baking and, since this is a one-pot meal, will also give you a beautiful dish to serve from.
Looking for more budget meals? Try these:
Patrick W. Decker’s life revolves around food. Always has, probably always will. As a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and past member of the culinary teams for Food Network stars like Rachael Ray, Sandra Lee, Marc Forgione, Bobby Deen and Paula Deen, he now works as a food stylist and producer in NYC by day and a food writer and recipe developer at his home in New York’s Hudson Valley by night. You can see what he’s up to by following him on Instagram & Twitter at @patrickwdecker or visiting his website at patrickwdecker.com.