Oh, how I love Ina Garten. This is not news to anyone into whose home I have brought a potluck item. Her cookbooks are in heavy rotation in my kitchen; their grease-splattered pages lovingly disclose my all-time favorites: roast chicken, panzanella, rugelach. Similar to showing off a dress with pockets, I enthusiastically share: “thanks; it’s Ina Garten.”
Ina’s roasted veggie lasagna looks impressive and tastes amazing.
It’s one of my favorites because I love make-ahead dishes the way some people love built-in bookcases (also me). In the days when I commuted to work, I would assemble this lasagna in advance so it was ready to pop in the oven when I got home. It was also my go-to for new parents; I would coordinate a daytime drop-off and provide baking directions.
This lasagna is surprisingly well suited for when you are trying to minimize grocery trips and deliveries.
While you can make and freeze the dish, I prefer to just keep ingredients on-hand to save freezer space. The noodles and sauce are shelf stable and the dairy items can live happily in the fridge for a while. It is flexible — use frozen, fresh or no veggies, skip the basil, add meat . . . or not. The recipe is adaptable, just like you.
You can find the original recipe on the Barefoot Contessa website.
In the spirit of “store-bought is fine,” I have adopted some shortcuts that save prep time and energy.
- The original recipe calls for roasting eggplant and zucchini. Trader Joe’s has a frozen product, Misto Alla Griglia, which has sliced grilled eggplant, zucchini and red peppers. This sub saves 30 minutes of cooking time. You can also skip the veggies all together and it’s still great as a cheese lasagna.
- Instead of soaking the lasagna noodles, I use no-boil noodles. This sub saves 15 minutes of soaking time.
Depending on your knife skills (mine are lousy), there are two shortcuts that make my life easier.
- I use herb scissors to chop the basil.
- I buy a pre-sliced log of mozzarella. I have also used mozzarella pearls.
Another shortcut that will save your time: use a bigger pan. This recipe calls for a 9 x 13 baking dish, and technically that will work if that’s what you have. However, this is a pretty substantial lasagna (note the direction to bake on a sheet pan), so I use a dish with slightly larger dimensions.