I seem to be on a lasagna kick. Not even just a lasagna kick, but one where I figure out how to get everything I love about lasagna, made in less time. Since we moved to Kansas, I have been cooking dinner almost every single night. When we lived in California, it was very easy to run and get a quick dinner if I ran out of time at the end of the day. Here, that is not the case. We have limited options, and most of them are not very healthy. We are also committed to living on a budget for the first time in our adult lives. So eating out is a rare treat, not a twice weekly occurrence. When we do eat out, we usually venture to Kansas City, and have a meal that includes knives and forks, and does not include a drive-thru window. Where am I going with this? I have become a very good meal planner. I still spend a lot of money on food. I refuse to sacrifice quality, so I have to be a little more careful and creative. Do you meal plan? Do you have any tips or tricks that help you cut down on your grocery budget? Please share if you do.
There a few things that I have a very hard getting here, fresh herbs being one of them. We moved here too late in the season to plant any, and it is very hit or miss to find them in the store. When I do find great herbs, I need to use them quickly, they do not have a very long shelf life. So I will group things together on my meal plan that uses some of the same, very perishable, ingredients. In this instance, I had some basil to use, and some ricotta, so this quick take on lasagna was born. I saw something similar on pinterest, and used the idea to make this. I also have made this with ravioli when I do not have any ricotta on hand.
1 pound bowtie pasta
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 links sweet Italian sausage
1 red bell pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper
1 (14.5-ounce) crushed tomatoes
2 Tablespoons fresh basil
2 Tablespoons fresh flat parsley
1 large ball fresh mozzarella
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Cook pasta according to package directions. In a large saute pan (that is oven proof) heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Take the sausage out of the casing, and cook until brown, about 5 minutes.
Add the pepper and onions, cook for a few minutes until they get soft.
Add the red pepper flakes, oregano, and garlic. Cook for another minute. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes. Add some basil and parsley. I reserve a little for garnish.
The sauce will on the thick side.
Toss in the bowtie pasta.
Add dollops of ricotta cheese.
Layer the mozzarella cheese over the pasta.
Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Put the skillet into a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and gooey. Garnish with the remaining basil and parsley.