Easy Lasagna Recipe (Made with Bowtie Pasta!)

This easy lasagna recipe is easy because it’s not made with traditional lasagna noodles!  Instead you can use bowtie pasta, rigatoni or anything you like!

easy lasagna on plate

I think most of us will agree that lasagna makes the heart happy. It’s comfort food for a crowd and thrives on a thousand variations. I have yet to make a lasagna that I don’t like, but this recipe for easy lasagna is my current favorite. Ok, ok, so technically, it’s not “lasagna” because it’s not made with lasagna noodles, but you didn’t come here for traditional lasagna, right??

Here’s why this easy lasagna is for you:

  • Easy lasagna can be made with any kind of pasta and baked in any size of dish.
  • You don’t have to wait for the lasagna to set after it comes out of the oven to be cut into neat little squares. Nope.
  • Easy lasagnas like this recipe typically do not include eggs in the recipe so that it stays messy on purpose. Just don’t let your kids know.

Heavy whipping cream, sour cream and mozzarella folded into the white sauce are just a few standout features that make this lasagna different. This recipe also uses freshly grated parmesan (a must!), fresh basil and parsley since they are plentiful this season and venison from our freezer. (You can easily substitute ground beef.) It’s really, really delicious and I can’t wait to share it with you.

Are you ready to make a lasagna recipe – easy? Come on in to my kitchen!

bowtie pasta for lasagna recipe easy

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Step 1 – Cook the Pasta to al dente

Today, I am going to start with the noodles. Boil a large pot of salted water and pour an entire 16 oz. box of dried pasta into it. You can use any kind of loose pasta – farfalle (bowties), mini penne or rigatoni noodles are all good choices. No lasagna noodles allowed.  😉 Cook the pasta al dente, drain, and stir in some olive oil to keep the pasta from sticking. Set aside.

If you’re still not sure about cooking your pasta to perfection, here’s a few tips.

simple lasagna homemade red sauce

Step 2 – Make the Lasagna Red Sauce

For the red sauce, cook 1 pound of ground venison, sausage, or beef. Drain it well and add two 24 oz. jars of quality marinara sauce. Marinara is simple and that’s important here because you want complexity to come from the white sauce. Simmer the sauce on low for a few minutes and set aside.

ingredients for easy lasagna white sauce

Step 3 – Make the Lasagna White Sauce

Meanwhile, let’s make that amazing white sauce! You will need small curd cottage cheese, full fat sour cream, 1 cup mozzarella, fresh basil, fresh parsley, three cloves of garlic, salt, pepper and the shining star…fresh grated parmesan. It’s one extra step that you won’t regret. Most grocery stores sell blocks of parmesan and if covered well, will keep months in your fridge. Anytime you need parmesan in a recipe, just grate some off for fresh parmesan flavor. No substitutions here, friends!

simple lasagna white sauce

Because we want our sauce to be rich and creamy, the final ingredient is 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream. Again, no substitutions. Give it all a good stir and taste. You could market this sauce as a dip  with crusty French bread and cherry tomatoes. Yummo!

layers or easy lasagna

Step 4 – How to Layer Easy Lasagna:

  1. red sauce (at bottom)
  2. 1/2 of the pasta
  3. red sauce
  4. white sauce
  5. remaining pasta
  6. red sauce
  7. white sauce
  8. red sauce
  9. Remaining cup of mozzarella cheese
pan of lasagna recipe easy

If you haven’t noticed, this messy but easy lasagna is… H.U.G.E. I think it could feed an entire fire department. But that’s a wonderful thing! You could easily prepare this in a larger pan to give yourself more space or cut the recipe in half and bake it in a pan half the size. This recipe is flexible!

easy lasagna on plate after baking

Step 5 – Bake the Lasagna & Serve

Bake the lasagna in a a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes or until golden and bubbly. If it comes from the fridge, add another 10 minutes. If it’s frozen, thaw before baking. When it comes out of the oven, there is no need to wait. Scoop out portions while it’s hot and serve with your favorite sides.

One of the few times in life where easy and messy on purpose is a good thing… a really good thing.

Enjoy this easy lasagna recipe!

More Easy Dinner Ideas:

easy lasagna on plate after baking
Created by: Lynette Rice

Easy Lasagna Recipe


Course Dinner
Cuisine North American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 12
12
Easy lasagna casserole recipe made with homemade sauces and not your traditional noodles – but pasta!

Ingredients
  

  • 48 oz. marinara sauce
  • 1 lb. ground meat venison, sausage or beef
  • 16 oz. dried pasta
  • 16 oz. cottage cheese small curd
  • 1 cup natural sour cream
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups mozzarella shredded, divided
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Boil a large pot of salted water and pour an entire 16 oz. box of dried pasta into it. Cook the pasta al dente, drain, and stir in some olive oil to keep the pasta from sticking. Set aside.
  • For the red sauce, cook 1 pound of ground venison, sausage, or beef. Drain it well and add two 24 oz. jars of quality marinara sauce. Simmer the sauce on low for a few minutes and set aside.
  • For the white sauce, stir together 16 oz. of small curd cottage cheese, 1 cup full fat sour cream, 1 cup mozzarella, fresh basil, fresh parsley, three cloves of garlic, salt, pepper, 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan and 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream.
  • Layer the easy lasagna using the following order: red sauce (at bottom), 1/2 of the pasta, red sauce, white sauce, remaining pasta, red sauce, white sauce, red sauce, remaining cup of mozzarella cheese.
  • Bake the lasagna in a 350 degree oven for 45 -55 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Cup | Calories: 416kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 1786mg | Potassium: 693mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1389IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 262mg | Iron: 4mg

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Common Questions about Making Lasagna:

How long do you cook lasagna at 350° F?
For this recipe you’ll cook the lasagna for 45 minutes or until bubbly around the edges.  If you find that your pan is a bit deeper you may want to cook it for one hour.

Do you have to cook the lasagna noodles before baking them?
Yes!  You’ll want to cook your noodles to al dente so that they can continue to cook once in the lasagna itself.  If you want to skip this step, you can make a lasagna recipe with no boil noodles.

Do you cook lasagna covered or uncovered?
You can cook lasagna uncovered.  If you find that the cheese is a getting a little brown on top, cover it with foil.

How do you layer a lasagna?
You want even layers of each ingredient (red sauce, white sauce and noodles).  Sandwiched between those layers is red sauce on the bottom and the top with a healthy amount of cheese to top it all.

What kind of cheese do you use for lasagna?
You can use whatever cheese you like!  For this recipe we chose to use cottage cheese, parmesan cheese and mozzarella.

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