It is Freezing outside! Like Seriously Freezing! I am a lover of all things Winter and this Cold really doesn’t bother me because I can curl up in front of the fire and read a good book (like who has the time for that any more?) The doggies love the cold weather and they get all frisky and rambunctious when they come inside. One of the best parts of deep cold weather is that I get to make you my dear readers fantastic comfort food like this! This is my twist on a Classic Baked Lasagna. Which can stand on it’s own just fine. So why would you want to mess around with a classic and change it up? Well, because you can and because it is really good! How good you ask? Well I’ll you. It’s so good and so easy that you may never go back to the Classic Lasagna again. Why fool with all those layers when you can throw it all together in a bowl? Easy is good. You know how much You Love Easy!! Just take a look at the Ricotta, the pasta, the chicken, the sauce, the Mozzarella It’s all just a Italian Flavor Explosion!
Really the additions that you can make are endless. You can add mushrooms, spinach, use any combination meat or cheese combo that you favor. When making this with the chicken breasts, while you are browning them you do not have to cook them all the way through. Remember you will be baking them also. * This is a good tip to keep in mind when you are cooking chicken in any casserole.* If you season and brown your chicken before you add the meat to a casserole that will be baked there is no need to cook it all the way through. Chicken is very easy to over cook and dry out. If you just brown it on both sides and then let it finish cooking while it is in the oven in the casserole you will have a tastier and juicier meal. I find that you get more of a flavor infusion if you cube the chicken and season it before browning versus just browning the breast then cubing it.
The easiest part of the dish and by far the most time saving is the pasta! Layer after layer of wiggly falling apart lasagna noodles that’s for the birds! Boil up a one pound package of rigatoni. This is a nice thick pasta with the same heft as lasagna and the little ridges actually hold on to the sauce better. Boil them to al dente and in a mixing bowl toss with the ricotta cheese and Viola the hard part is over and done, easy peasy! I’m telling you, once you make this you are never going back to that long, slow, tedious way of making lasagna again.
So during these long cold winter nights when you need some great filling comfort food but don’t want to spend the entire day in the kitchen. Whip up this Filling, creamy, saucy, italian classic. You will be so glad that you did and your family will Cheer you! “Hooray For Mom!”