Lazy lasagna is the perfect alternative to its layered counterpart. Made with fresh pappardelle, a rich bolognese (ragu) sauce and topped with a creamy fresh ricotta, this no-bake lasagna recipe tastes just like the real thing. Plating this like a deconstructed lasagna gives this classic dish a gourmet look.
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I love lasagna! I think it’s such a yummy, soul-warming dish and everyone is familiar with it. But, sometimes I just don’t feel like heating up my whole house and making a ton of something when it’s just the hubby and I. I get that some of you might be in the same plight, so I wanted to offer you an alternative that I love oh so much. Please say hello to Lazy Lasagna.
This is a thing of beauty! It has all of the components of a beloved Italian lasagna minus the hot kitchen and the guesswork of “how much do I need to make???” This deconstructed lasagna is so easy and it’s so much like the traditional lasagna!
What is Lazy Lasagna
When I first came up with this idea for the blog, I thought I hit gold and that this was a unique creation. Then I learned that others have made a similar idea and have called it Lazy Lasagna. I love this idea but with my gourmet and from-scratch approach, let’s just say that this meaty lasagna recipe is a labor of love!
The thing that I love most about this no-bake take on lasagna is that it can mostly all be made in one pan. This very much has one of those skillet recipe types feels to it. To me, this is such an easy way to make lasagna. Let’s go over what both the traditional and lazy lasagnas have in common.
Much like Italian lasagna, this lazy lasagna has many of the same key ingredients:
- A rich and meaty bolognese sauce
- Killer lasagna noodles (pappardelle pasta)
- Creamy cheese (fresh ricotta)
Like a traditional lasagna, this lazy lasagna sports a rich and meaty sauce called Bolognese, or Ragu. You can build this sauce in a skillet and once the pasta has finished cooking, toss it together and it’s just like lasagna.
Both recipes have noodles because it wouldn’t really be lasagna without noodles. To resemble the awesome wide lasagna noodles, I opted to use pappardelle noodles instead. More about those in a bit.
One of the most enjoyable elements about any lasagna is the cheese. Using the ricotta cheese as a garnish really helps make this lazy lasagna look elegant and gourmet.
How to Make Ragu Sauce (Bolognese)
What is bolognese or ragu sauce?! Bolognese is nothing more than what us Americans have affectionately called “meat sauce” But it is so much more than that!
Bolognese is an Italian meat sauce made from beef, pork, and even pancetta. Tomatoes are added, along with wine and milk. This sauce really doesn’t take too long to make but you definitely need to give each of the ingredients the love that they deserve.
This bolognese sauce was inspired by a wife of one of my chefs that I was blessed to work with. I made a few changes just to give it my own flair.
Her recipe called for veal, pork, and pancetta. I opted for lean ground beef and Italian sausage. The flavor that is found in Italian sausage obviously compliments what’s going on in this sauce. I also felt like the flavor in the Italian sausage would compensate for the lack of pancetta.
I found that shredding my carrots helped it incorporate into the sauce with more ease than just cutting it really small. Using a box grater definitely did the trick.
Now adding wine and milk are crucial to the sauce. A dry, cooking wine is fine to use and just adds more richness and a slight note of fruitiness to the sauce. I reduced it until I really didn’t see the liquid anymore so the alcohol cooks out completely.
Milk might be an interesting ingredient but the reasoning behind its addition makes a lot of sense. Milk is often used as a tenderizer for meats and incorporates richness. This helps the sauce take on a creamy and rich consistency.
My secret to an awesome ragu (bolognese) sauce is adding a splash of red wine vinegar at the end to cut the rich molecules down so that the tongue can appreciate the flavors even more.
I used both fresh and dried herbs in the sauce and they both serve important roles. To learn more about using fresh and dried herbs, I recommend this post!
What is Pappardelle Pasta
Pappardelle is such a cool noodle to me! It’s like a suped-up fettucini noodle. They’re typically ½ inch wide, so you have these thick, beautiful ribbons flowing through your sauce.
The thickness makes them ideal for heavy, meaty sauces like this bolognese.
They resemble lasagna noodles which makes it such a cool play on this iconic dish! I made my noodles from scratch using my pasta dough recipe, rolling it out into a thin pasta sheet, and then cutting the sheet with a pizza cutter, like this gorgeous one. The result is super long and wide noodles! I like using a pizza cutter, which results in sometimes uneven spots in the noodles. However, they do have this nifty cutter that can cut each strand of pasta evenly!
And because these noodles are so wide, you don’t need too many for each serving. They fill up a plate nicely, giving the illusion that there is a bunch of pasta.
If you opt to make your own pappardelle, you only need to cook it for about 3-5 minutes.
However, if this is truly a Lazy Man’s Lasagna, you can definitely find pappardelle noodles at your local grocery store. I would look where they would house their “specialty” or “fresh” pasta.
Cooking Lazy Lasagna
I have said this before but it’s worth restating, I love this no-bake lasagna! Sometimes I want to make lasagna in the summer but that’s not gonna happen when it’s 115 outside. No way. This lasagna recipe can be made in about the same time as a traditional lasagna but you don’t have to heat up the whole house to do it!
Timing out this recipe so that it comes together at the same time is simple. I would first get my pasta dough made and resting (if you’re going from the complete from scratch route) before starting my ragu sauce. This gives the pasta time to relax before rolling and cutting.
The ragu sauce only takes about 30 minutes to make once everything has been prepped. Make sure that you allow everything to reduce at each step to maximize flavor!
As the sauce is cooking, you can then roll, cut and shape the dough into pappardelle noodles. Be sure to have a pot of boiling and salted water ready for you.
Once the sauce is almost finished, place the pappardelle in the water and boil for 3-4 minutes. If you want your final dish to have more of a tossed lasagna feel, add your pappardelle to the sauce and toss; garnishing with a dollop of ricotta.
If you want more of the deconstructed lasagna look, plate your noodles first, then your sauce, then your cheese. Garnish with some shaved parmesan in each instance because parm is delicious!
Garnishing the Deconstructed Lasagna
Let me let you in on a little secret of mine, I’m not the hugest fan of ricotta from the store. It’s too dry in my opinion. A dear local cheese maker here in Phoenix stole my heart with her super creamy ricotta and I just can’t go back from that.
I love creamy, fresh ricotta and if you can get your hands on that, be sure to use that! Here is my recipe for creamy homemade ricotta. Be sure to note that if you want to go the fresh ricotta route, fresh ricotta needs to be strained for at least 12 hours before use.
I dollop the ricotta on top instead of mixing it in because I wanted to use it more for garnish than anything else. To add a fresh and cleansing element to the whole dish, try adding in some fresh basil.
I really hope you enjoy this super easy twist on an Italian lasagna that we all love! Give this a try for dinner and thank me later when you have a cooler kitchen and a full tummy.
If you really enjoyed this dish, be sure to leave a comment (and a rating) down below to tell me all about it!
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- 1 pound fresh pappardelle pasta
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 each shallots, minced
- 1 small carrot, shredded
- 1 pound italian sausage
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 2 ounces tomato paste
- 1 can plain tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 tbsp fresh parsely, minced
- 1/4 cup parmesan, shaved
- 1/2 cup ricotta
- To taste salt and pepper
- Bring a pot of water to a boil. Salt liberally. Add pappardelle pasta to the water and cook 3-5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium heat with olive oil. Add garlic, shallots, carrots, and cook until translucent.
- Add tomato paste and caramelize for 2 minutes.
- Add ground beef and Italian sausage. Cook until browned. Reduce meat juices until almost gone. Season with nutmeg, dried oregano, and salt and pepper.
- Add white wine and reduce until almost gone. Next, add milk and reduce until almost gone.
- Deglaze with canned tomato sauce, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to release the goodies. Add fresh parsley and red wine vinegar.
- Add pasta and toss in the sauce.
- Dollop ricotta on the pasta. Serve with your favorite garlic bread or side salad.
Anolon 30829 Tri-Ply Clad Skillet, 12.75 Inch, Stainless Steel
Extra Large Organic Bamboo Cutting Board for Kitchen
Totally Bamboo 20-2083 Salt Box, 3-1/2-Inch round, Plain
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Nutrition InformationYield 3 Serving Size 6 ounces
Amount Per ServingCalories 1311 Total Fat 69g Saturated Fat 27g Trans Fat 1g Unsaturated Fat 43g Cholesterol 297mg Sodium 2398mg Carbohydrates 70g Fiber 5g Sugar 13g Protein 93g