Pasta has my heart like nothing else. My love affair with it was cemented when making stuffed agnolotti, caramelle and everything in between in restaurant kitchens, but it started with something simpler: my mum’s lasagna. This lasagna is something slightly different but still as nostalgic and comforting. It is the quickest I’ve made, ready for the oven in 10 minutes (not the hour it normally takes), yet there is still a rich deep tomato sauce and those crisp baked edges to fight over. I don’t pre-cook my lasagna sheets, as they cook in the sauce and I like them a little al dente. If you prefer them softer, you could use fresh pasta sheets here. This recipe was originally inspired by one of my all-time favorite cooks, Heidi Swanson of 101cookbooks.com.
- Heat the oven to 400°F/200°C.
- In a large bowl or jug, mix the passata (or purée/crushed canned tomatoes) with the oil, half a teaspoon of flaky sea salt, the chopped garlic, chili flakes, drained lentils, grated squash, chopped olives, capers and lemon zest. Tear the basil leaves in half.
- Spoon a quarter of the sauce into an ovenproof dish roughly 8 inches x 12 inches/20 cm x 30 cm (I use an oval roughly the same size), tear over a third of one of the balls of mozzarella, then cover with pasta sheets. Repeat for another two layers: a quarter of the sauce, a third of a ball of mozzarella, a layer of pasta.
- Finish with a final layer of sauce, then tear over the whole second ball of mozzarella, sprinkle with salt and pepper, top with the basil, and drizzle with a little more olive oil.
- Bake for 30–35 minutes, until the mozzarella is deeply golden. Serve with a sharply dressed salad (I mix lemon juice, cider vinegar, mustard and extra virgin olive oil, and toss through a bowl of green leaves).