It was cool and rainy yesterday, making me crave comfort food. That weather also makes me feel kind of lazy, so while I wanted lasagna for dinner, I couldn’t bear the thought of finger-wiping noodles (to rid them of excess water) and laying them in a pan, alternating the direction of each layer.

So I cheated. I boiled up a box of rotini, spread the cooked pasta in a glass dish, topped it with meat sauce, ricotta and mozzarella, and popped it in the oven. 40 minutes later, I had my comfort food.

And it was damned good.

Faux-sagna (aka, rotini lasagna)

1 lb. box rotini
2 jars of good-quality, tomato based pasta sauce (recommended Newman’s Own Sockarooni
1 lb. organic or responsibly raised ground beef (like Laura’s Lean Beef)
32 oz. part-skim ricotta cheese
4 cups shredded mozzarella
Pecorino Romano

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×13 glass pan. Cook rotini according to package directions. While rotini is cooking, heat a large sauté pan to medium high and cook beef until brown. Reduce heat to low and add 1½ jars of sauce to the beef in the pan. Stir until sauce is heated through.

When pasta is cooked to al dente, drain well. Spread a thin layer of the non-meat sauce (the sauce still in the jar) in the bottom of the pan. Top with a layer of rotini, followed with meat sauce. Drop heaping spoonfuls of ricotta on top of the sauce, followed by mozzarella. Repeat with another layer of rotini, meat sauce, ricotta, and mozzarella. Top with the last of the rotini and non-meat sauce.

At this point, you should have three layers of rotini sandwiching two layers of meat sauce, ricotta, and mozzarella.

Lightly grease a piece of aluminum foil and place the greased side down on top of the pasta. Crimp foil and place pan in oven. Bake 35 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling. Remove foil, top with more mozzarella and some Pecorino Romano and bake another 5 minutes.

Grade: A

Categories: Beef, Entrees, Grade Range: A- to A+, Pasta


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5 Comments on “Faux-sagna”

  1. September 15, 2006 at 1:04 pm #

    Yum! It’s nice that we can bake dinner again, hurray cool weather!

  2. September 15, 2006 at 1:43 pm #

    It was cool and rainy here too….I made a casserole. I think my husband would have prefered what you had for comfort food.

  3. September 15, 2006 at 7:42 pm #

    At the risk of sounding lazy, have you ever tried the no-bake lasagna noodles? They cut down tremendously on time, and they’ve worked well for me.

  4. September 16, 2006 at 6:29 am #

    Haha – I often make faux-lagna with cooked pasta instead, but I must admit it never looks as good as this!

  5. September 16, 2006 at 11:15 am #

    I’m there! I agree, the Newman’s own sauce is pretty darn good for bottled sauce.

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