Friends, thank you for all of your thoughts yesterday in regard to Marcella Hazan’s famous tomato sauce — it turns out many of you have modified it on your own as well.
This is how I’ve been using it recently: in a make-ahead lasagna with layers of no-boil noodles, roasted eggplant rounds, sautéed Swiss chard, and a mix of parmesan and mozzarella. I’ve omitted the classic ricotta + egg layer here because I’ve never loved it, but feel free to add it. This is a recipe that can be tailored to your liking.
In fact, use it as a guide! Here’s the layering order:
- tomato sauce
- no-boil noodles
- cooked vegetables
If you’ve got homemade sauce and a stash of roasted or sautéed or steamed—cooked!—vegetables on hand, the assembly here is fast thanks to no-boil noodles (a miracle!). Otherwise, save this one for the weekend. It’s not hard, but roasting the eggplant, sautéeing the chard, grating the cheese, etc., all takes time.
PS: I’m heading to Denver this weekend … got any tips?
Use this recipes as a guide. I have made countless variations of this same formula: tomato sauce (homemade is best) + mozzarella+ parm + cooked vegetables + no-boil noodles. This version here calls for roasted eggplant and sautéed greens, but you can really add any cooked vegetables you like: roasted red peppers, sautéed mushrooms, roasted butternut squash, sautéed beet greens, roasted cauliflower, etc.
I like the Barilla no-boil noodles. The box is 9 oz, but I don’t use all 15 sheets — you need 12 here. Save the remaining 3 sheets in a ziplock bag.
I’ve never loved the ricotta-egg layer of lasagna, so I’ve omitted it here.
- 2 to 3 small-ish eggplant (about 2 to 3 pounds)
- grapeseed oil
- kosher salt
- 10 to 12 ounces greens, such as Swiss chard, kale, or mustard greens, leaves removed from stems and finely chopped (you should have about 8 oz. greens post trimming)
- 1 quart tomato sauce, homemade is best, see notes above
- 1 box no-boil noodles (about 9 oz, you’ll need 12 sheets, see notes above)
- 4 ounces Parmigiano Reggiano, grated (about 1 cup)
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella (not stored in brine), pulled into small pieces (about 1 cup)
- Preheat the oven to 450° F. Slice the eggplant into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Spread into single layers on two baking sheets. Drizzle 3 to 4 tablespoons grapeseed oil over top. Toss to coat. Spread back into a single layer and season generously with kosher salt. Roast the eggplant for 20 minutes or so, rotating the pans halfway—the eggplant is done when the undersides are golden brown and release easily from the pan with a metal spatula. This may take longer than 20 minutes and may require more than one rotation of the pans. Be sure to check the eggplant slices periodically—for instance, the slices on the perimeter of my sheetpan always brown/finish cooking first. Transfer eggplant to a plate. Turn the heat down to 350° F.
- Meanwhile, place a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil. When the oil shimmers, add the greens, and sauté turning the greens with tongs to help them cook evenly. Season with a good pinch of salt. When the greens have shrunk way down, they’re done—this will happen in 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and transfer the greens to a plate to cool.
- Set up an assembly line with your tomato sauce, no-boil noodles, plate of eggplant and greens, grated parmesan, pulled-apart mozzarella. Spread a 1/2 cup of tomato sauce over the bottom of a 9×13-inch pan. Top with 3 no-boil noodles. Spread another 1/2 cup of sauce over top. Layer eggplant in a single layer over top. Spread a thin layer of greens over top. Spread about 1/4 cup of parmesan over top, then 1/4 cup mozzarella. Repeat this layering until you have four layers of noodles, then top the final layer of noodles with another 1/2 cup tomato sauce (or more) and the remaining cheese. (The idea is to always have about 1/2 cup tomato sauce on either side of the noodles, but you can’t go wrong here.)
- Cover pan with foil and refrigerate until ready to bake or transfer to oven and bake 40 minutes covered. Remove foil, and bake for 5 to 10 minutes if desired to lightly brown the top.
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: lasagna, eggplant, swiss chard, vegetarian, simple, make ahead