Dinner for One

I don’t like to eat alone. Ok. That’s not exactly true. I’ll snack, by myself, all day long. I’ll nibble on things as I cook them. I’ll feast on whatever fruit happens to be in the fridge. But, I don’t like to dine alone as in sit down and have a full meal by myself. Eating out or staying in it doesn’t matter. Because of this fact, I tend to skip lots of meals without really thinking about it, only to find myself wondering a few hours later why I feel so wonky. Usually, it’s not a problem. Missing lunch is more than easily made up with random snacking and my husband and daughter are usually around for dinner. But, then there are those days like today. Lunch, well, it didn’t really happen. And the snacking? Well, it was pretty lame. A few bites of Rosemary flat bread crackers and two succulent chunks of pineapple. Oh, and then I went for a run. Not sure what I was thinking there. So, when dinner time rolled around, and the rest of the family was out doing other things, I knew something must be done. I must cook. For myself. Ack.

A quick look in the fridge though, and I excitedly found that I had the perfect left over ingredients to make one of the cute individual lasagnas featured in Bills Food. Or, at least a close derivation. The best part – it was just 30 minutes to the perfect dinner for one. And it is delicious enough that I’m glad I don’t have to share it with anyone. (I say as I wipe the sauce off of my face… typing and eating = hard)

Lasagna for One 014

Three Cheese Lasagna for One
4 4×4 fresh pasta squares
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/2 cup whole milk ricotta
1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
1 tablespoon grated parmesan (or other hard cheese)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Fresh mozzarella, thickly sliced (as much as you want)
Tomato sauce

If you don’t already have a tomato sauce recipe that you like, use this one. You’ll need a couple of hours, but it’s easy to do and the sauce will keep for about a week in the fridge. Take a can of San Marzano variety plum tomatoes (crushed or whole, peeled), and a heavy pot and set it on the stove on low. Add about a tablespoon of olive oil, a tablespoon of garlic and a teaspoon of salt. Let it simmer for at least an hour, preferably two, stirring occasionally. You can add a bit more salt to taste. In the last 10 or 15 minutes, add about a tablespoon of fresh basil and a pat of butter.

Once you have a sauce, get the water boiling for the pasta and preheat the oven to 400F. If you are using fresh, it will only take about a minute to cook. Rinse well with cold water, and lay out on a tea towel to get off the excess moisture. Brush the tops of the pasta sheets with the melted butter.

In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, grated parmesan, parsley and salt.

In a heavy baking pan, spread a good dollop of tomato sauce. Lay down the first sheet of pasta. Top with 1/2 of the ricotta mixture. Cover that with another layer of pasta. Don’t worry about getting the pasta sheets on straight. They look nice if they are a bit crooked. Next, add the mozzarella, covering with pasta. Then, the rest of the ricotta mixture, and the final sheet of pasta. Top with more sauce and a few more slices of the mozzarella.

Lasagna for One

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until bubbly. Top with a bit more grated parmesan. Take a photo. Eat. (oh, you mean most people don’t take photos before they eat their food?)

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  • Alicat

    That is beautiful L. I love that someone finally made a meal like this, which usually feeds 8-12, into a single serving. :o)

  • http://www.cookandeat.com/ L

    Thanks Alicat. The coolest thing is that you can make them “individual” for a whole group. That way, everyone gets the crispy side bits (which are always my favorite part)

  • http://www.drinkjack.com DrinkJack

    I am going to have to try this, the sauce, and that cannelloni dish I just read about. I love to cook (at least in my mind), but if the recipe is complex where proper timing is essential, I am toast (or more likely eating toast instead).

  • http://www.cookandeat.com/ L

    It doesn’t get a whole lot simpler than layering noodles and cheese :-)

  • http://www.drinkjack.com DrinkJack

    L – the lasagna was great, but I need to cook up your sauce. Oh yeah, I learned to not skimp on the quality of the moz. cheese.

  • Judy Janelli

    I am 57, divorced and an empty nester, so I have been looking for/ creating recipes for one. I was inspired yesterday by the leftovers in the fridge and came up with a putanesca sauce. To the 1 cup “red gravy” aka marimara sauce of your choice, I add 2 slices of Canadian bacon, diced, about 4 green olives ( the French style works better than the Spanish)chopped, some finely diced shallots and a few capers, about a teaspoon each. That simmered while the pasta cooked. Yum!
    I look forward to making the lasagna

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  • http://google Romy

    WOW – what a wonderful presentation — utterly beautiful.

    I do not know where to find FRESH PASTA SQUARES, I do not see it in my grocery store.
    Thanks.