I’m use to making lasagna in a very traditional way. Long strips of lasagna noodles in a baking dish, filled with ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, ground beef and of course sauce… at least on Josh’s dish. Yes, I make two lasagnas. One has everything and one doesn’t. I’m not a fan of tomatoes. Don’t gasp in horror at me. Everyone has something they don’t like and that is the absolute worst one for me.
Anyway… There is absolutely nothing wrong with a traditional lasagna. There are ways of changing it up but in the end it’s still for the most part just a traditional and very basic lasagna. Until recently I had never seen a round lasagna. What a beautiful sight! I mean seriously. It’s just perfect. One of the biggest issues with traditional boring straight in a dish style lasagna is cutting and plating. I never manage to get it out and onto the plate without something going horribly wrong. Well, maybe not horribly wrong but never in a super clean piece. Making a round lasagna, or a lasagna pie if you will, solves the sloppy issue depending on your ingredients. But there is still something else about the round lasagna that was just so wonderful. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. It was just different.
My recipe is based on a meatless or vegetarian lasagna but I played around with it a bit. And boy oh boy what an end result. Josh wasn’t sure about it by the list of ingredients but he didn’t snub his nose up. To his surprise it was amazing. More delicious than he would have guessed. Leaps and bounds better than a traditional lasagna. And what was great for me, yes that smooth slice. It was fun to make and fun to serve. You know you’ve made a winner when your family or friends go back for seconds!
Cook Time: 45 minutes
1 pkg lasagna noodles
1-2 lbs ground beef
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 C sliced fresh mushrooms
1 pkg (6oz) prewashed baby spinach
2 tbsp basil
1 pkg (15oz) ricotta cheese
1/3 C parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 jar tomato sauce
2 C shredded mozzarella
Preheat oven to 375. Begin cooking your ground beef in a large skillet. Drain of grease if too much pools up. Cook until no longer pink and some pieces have begun browning. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
In a large frying pan, heat up 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. When your oil has warmed up, toss in garlic and mushrooms. Cook for 5 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Add spinach a handful at a time. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until spinach is wilted. It won't be wilted in a brown and dead kind of way. It will have a very wet and sloppy appearance. Transfer your spinach and mushroom mixture to a medium bowl. Stir in basil. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine egg, salt, pepper, parmesan and ricotta cheese. Mix well.
Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. I almost always cook my pasta for 11 minutes unless a recipes says to do something different. The original recipes call for cooking the lasagna first but that annoyed me in the end because it allowed the noodles too much drying time. When your noodles are ready, drain and allow to cool. Then using a large plate, lay 3 or 4 strips in one direction. Add a layer ontop going the opposite direction and continue with this pattern.
Coat a cookie sheet with foil. Prepare a springform pan with a spritz of your favorite oil and place on your cookie sheet. Lightly coat the bottom of your pan with sauce. Roughly 1/2 cup should do the trick. You don't want it too sloppy, it's just to keep your noodles from baking directly to the pan. Using a total of less than 3 complete pieces, make a layer of lasagna noodles in your pan. Trim the edges. I always started with the furthest spot away from me and moved towards me with the noodles. Reserve trimmed pieces to fill in smaller gaps. I found there was always an inch or so closest to me that needed noodles. A full piece of lasagna would have been a waste so the trimmings came in handy.
Top of noodles with half of your spinach and mushroom mixture. Then coat with half of your cheese mixture, spreading out nice and evenly. Using a large spoon or baking spatula to push or press down on the cheese helps to make it smoosh down without needing to really attempt to spread it. If you try to spread it in any other way your spinach and mushrooms will penetrate the cheese. This isn't a big deal but I just found it to be annoying to try to spread, so that gives you an easier way to smoosh it in there. Plop a spoonful and smoosh, repeat. Easy enough.
Make another layer with noodles, trimming and reserving the extra pieces as necessary. Pour in a third to half of your remaining sauce. Top with ground beef and sprinkle with cheese.
Repeat layers, finishing up your spinach and mushroom mixture as well as your cheese mixture. You may or may not use all of your ground beef. If you don't use all of it, use for another meal or freeze for a later use. To finish, make one more layer of noodles. Spread around a small amount of sauce and sprinkle with any remaining cheese.
Bake for 45 minutes on your prepared cookie sheet. This will catch any possible leaking sauce.
Let sit for 5 minutes. Transfer entire lasagna to a large platter. Run a knife between lasagna and the edge of your pan. Carefully release and remove springform pan side. Slice and serve.