Poultry & Pork

No Need to Boil

Caprese Lasagna-Duo Dishes

By now, you’ve gathered that we cook incessantly.  And we love eating just as much as we love cooking.  Lucky for us, we also love to shop for food.  In Southern Cali, the grocery options are abounding.  Trader Joe’s, Ralph’s, Smart & Final, Jons, Vons, and Gelson’s.  Let’s not forget the fresh fare farmers’ markets in each town, including the “Original” Farmers Market at 3rd and Fairfax.  And then you have the gourmet and specialty shops such as Sur La Table and Surfas.  (Are you tired yet?  We are!)  Our shopping bliss has taken us every which way and to a variety of places to buy food in the greater Los Angeles area.  At this point, we know exactly which places will have the best deals on specific items.  Need some pine nuts, for instance?  Trader Joe’s every time!  And why is a bag of whole carrots usually priced at three bags for $0.99 at Jons!  It’s just too much to handle sometimes.  We probably even know the layouts of each location better than the employees there (Soy sauce?  Right on aisle 3!).

Even with our shopping prowls, we still discover new things in the store each time.  It’s the natural consequence of strolling up and down every aisle when we only went in for a carton of eggs.  Looking at everything, taking in all the wonder that is overflowing from the shelves.  This is exactly what happened to cause this post.  Maybe now, you’ll go explore your local grocer and see what pops out at you…just like we did.

We had a simple mission:  get the ingredients to make a caprese salad–a tomato, mozzarella, and some fresh basil.  Easy!  Well, that was until the pasta aisle snatched us right on up!  Who doesn’t like looking at all the different pasta shapes, sizes, and colors?  And, that’s when it appeared.  Sitting next to the cannelloni shells was a box of dry, no-boil lasagna noodles.  If you’ve ever made a lasagna, you may have the image of burning your hands on hot, soggy pasta strips that then fall apart into several pieces, and you just don’t know what you’re doing wrong!  No-boil noodles are not a new concept, but definitely something we’ve never tried.  The next part was a delicious experiment.  Caprese salad is usually served cold, but lasagna is hot.  We wanted the best of both worlds–the fresh, simple, natural flavor of the caprese salad and the savory elements of traditional lasagna.  The result was splendid.  We hope you try it!

Turkey Caprese Lasagna – Serves 6 to 8

1 box lasagna noodles
2 larges tomatoes, sliced
2 cups of fresh basil, whole
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
12 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
1 cup mozzarella, shredded
2 turkey breast fillets
1 cup Pecorino Roman cheese, shredded
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/3 cup marscarpone cheese
1 1/2 cups tomato-based pasta sauce
1 egg
Kosher salt
Black pepper
Olive oil

1. Cook turkey breasts (or chicken) in boiling water for about 10 minutes, or until cooked.

2.  When the meat is cooked, let cool for 5 minutes.  Then pull apart with a fork and knife on a large plate until meat is completely shredded.  Set aside.

3.  In a deep 9 x 13 baking dish, pour a tiny bit of olive oil into dish and spread over the bottom and sides to coat.

4.  In a small bowl, whisk ricotta and marscarpone cheeses with egg and a dash of salt and pepper.  Set aside.

5.  Begin to make layers in the baking dish: start by lining bottom of dish with the pasta noodles, then evenly spread ricotta mixture over pasta, followed by a layer of tomato, mozzarella slices, basil, turkey and a bit of tomato sauce.   Sprinkle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and shredded Pecorino Romano cheese.  Repeat, ending with noodles.

6.  Spread top layer of noodles with any remaining pasta sauce.  Top with grated mozzarella cheese, chopped basil and any remaining Pecorino.

7.  Bake for 50-60 minutes in a preheated oven at 350 degrees or until cheese browns and bubbles. Let sit for 15 minutes before serving.  Garnish with more chopped basil.

Click HERE for the printable recipe.


45 thoughts on “No Need to Boil

  1. Love the way you guys write! I always use the no-boil noodles, it’s just so much easier and I really don’t taste a difference. My lasagna is pretty ordinary: just a layer of ground beef and another with ricotta cheese. This recipe looks intriguing!! Can’t wait to try this!

  2. Not sure if I told you this, but I am using this post for my next culinary class for the inner city kids, I loved it! Sure to be a success with them…

  3. mmm… fresh basil. This looks like great lasagna. I will have to give it a try. i have been making the same old recipe for too long!
    My hubbie and i similarly enjoy our grocery runs here on the east coast. Gotta love Trader Joe’s!

  4. I’ve never used no boil noodles, but you’ve totally sold me on them! OH and thanks for the suggestion about using fresh ginger and cardamom in those carrot muffins! I smacked myself on the head when I read that – such a brilliant idea! I’ll definitely try it out and let you know how it goes!

  5. Wow! That sounds so good! I love the cheese you used, and I ADORE no boil recipes. Somehow the lasagna is so much easier to make if I don’t have to boil first. Yum!

  6. Your shopping adventures sound a bit like mine – if you ever make it to the East Coast you have to check out Wegman’s.

    I also use regular noodles and do not get the special no boil kind. Work just as well for me, makes for a firmer, drier lasagna, so if you like it moister, just need to add more liquids.

  7. Makes me want to go to LA 🙂 I agree about shopping, though… shouldn’t be a chore. Matt and I thoroughly enjoy the time together, exploring the aisles.

    No-boil lasagna noodles?!?!! I am so there 🙂

  8. Turkey Caprese Lasagna! Amazing. This sounds fabulous. I have never used those no-boil noodles, but my mother-in-law swears by them. I need to learn how to make a good lasagna.

  9. how I miss TJ’s and SLT. No boil is great, esp for lasagna. Fresh pasta is also great for baked pastas…

    Lasagna is one of my favorites – I love all the great Italian cheeses you used in yours.

  10. MMMMMM….yummie yummie give me sommie!!!! Love your lasagna!!! Yum Yum!! Enjoy this with an excellent red Italian wine!!

  11. Ah, I just made lasagna tonight. I wish I’d had a look at this beforehand! Good to know that the no-boil noodles worked out well!

  12. I even have a little secret, if your lasagna is saucy enough, the regular noodles work fine too without boiling. I have been using them for years before the no boil even came out…it’s awesome!

  13. Wonderful – I am definitely going to be trying this lasagna as it has my favorite caprese flavors. We were just talking about making a lasagna with my daughter and she didn’t remember what that is – I haven’t made one in a long time!

  14. My Mom has started using these and loves them. I like when they that al dente bite to them that is hard to get with the cooked ones. Your lasagna looks beautiful!

  15. That sounds great! I love no boil noodles! They are awesome. Some Old Italian Ladies told me you don’t have to get those, you can use the regular ones and just not boil them…but I am scared, as my Nana never did that! LOL!

  16. Great name for this dish! I find myself wandering the isle of the market as if I was in an art gallery 🙂

    Speaking of smiley faces, I found another one!
    http://oeufmayo.wordpress.com/ must be a glitch in the sites, or a programmers way of wishing you all well 🙂 see I do it too!

  17. Sounds amazing! What brand of pasta noodles did you use?

    P.S. Can totally relate to the exhausting process of shopping at a million different food stores!

  18. I’ve always been skeptical of those no-bake lasagna noodles. Glad to know yours worked out.

    Another great shortcut is to use wonton wrappers! (I learned it from Sara Molton and successfully replicated it in my own kitchen).

  19. I love n0-boil lasagna! Made the switch years ago and have never looked back. Oh, and I’ll take a serving of this to go … please! 😉

  20. Oh such a delightful read, nice to bring back memories from LA… I’ve been to most of those places! I love the use of basil here, just got this wonder herb in a pot and I’ll probably pick some leaves and use it soon.

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