With the exception of the tri-colour vegetable variety found in the aisles of my local grocery store, I have yet to meet a pasta my boys didn't love. For them it's the ultimate comfort food, and for me it's a dinner I can be sure the whole family, canine child included, will enjoy. It also serves as a vehicle for plenty of other good for you foods (read veggies) which go down with nary a problem when covered in meat sauce and some gooey cheese.
The kids' preferred pasta dish is lasagna, and I can hardly blame them. What's not to love about layers of noodles, meat sauce and mozzarella? From a cook's perspective it is a delectable dish, but not necessarily one for the weeknight dinner table. Or it wasn't, until I came across this recipe way back in 2004. Since then, I've been making this a few times a year, and each time I do I give my hand a little slap for forgetting just how easy it is to put together. In the time it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta, the meat sauce is cooked and cheese topping assembled. It browns and bubbles in the oven, allowing me to take care of other things that need to be done. Lazy? Yes. Delicious? Without a doubt.
Do you have a "lazy" version of a favourite recipe?
- 1 box penne
- 1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
- 1 pound ground turkey (or beef)
- 1 cup grated carrot
- 1 cup grated zucchini
- 1/2 cup finely diced onion
- 3 cups tomato sauce (homemade or jarred)
- 1 container ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- 2 cups mozzarella, grated
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
In a pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta until tender. Drain and set aside.
While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the turkey and cook for 4 - 5 minutes or until browned. Add the carrots, zucchini and onion and cook for a few more minutes or until the veggies are soft. Pour in the tomato sauce and 1 tablespoon of the oregano and mix well. Set aside.
Combine the ricotta, egg and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese in a bowl. Set aside.
For assembly: Spread half the meat sauce over the bottom of a baking dish. Cover with all of the pasta. Spread the cheese mixture over the pasta. Top with the remaining meat sauce. Sprinkle with the other cup of mozzarella and leftover oregano. Bake for 30 minutes or until browned and bubbling. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.