As sent: *
This dish tastes just like pizza, because that’s what I ordered after I tried a bit of this terrible “lasagna.” Home Chef should collectively cringe in chagrin at sending this abomination.
Tasting: One problem with this dish is that it is cooked in a giant rush, as if the house is on fire and you have to cook this before you evacuate. I suspect that a little more time would make the flavors blend a little better. Another problem is that this dish is less of a lasagna and more of a sort of ratatouille with some lasagna noodles thrown in. There are a LOT of vegetables in this, including chunks of onion, diced zucchini, and spinach. Also, there is a lot of tomato, but very little cheese. I do like my lasagna to have a cheesy component. The garlic bread is hard, and the flavor of the garlic is raw. This dish was just flat out awful.
Cooking: Right away you have to heat the oven to 400 degrees, so you know you are going to be doing this in some sort of mad dash to get it done as rapidly as possible, as if you are some sort of slathering wolf requiring immediate lasagna.
Then for some reason that I cannot fathom, they ask you to break the lasagna noodles into 5-7 pieces each, while they are dry. I don’t know why they want you to make lasagna with lasagna pieces, and also, dry lasagna noodles are really hard to break, I gotta say.
The “sauce” starts with a sauté of diced zucchini with chopped onion and garlic, then you add some spinach to wilt, and salt and pepper. To be honest, the stuff in this pan didn’t even look like it should go into a lasagna at all.
Next, same pan, with the veggies on a plate, mix some pre-made marinara with some pasta water and, for some reason, some cream. Also, some chopped garlic. Boil that, then bung everything else, the veggies and the noodles, and one measly ounce of parmesan into the pan, willy nilly, and stir it up. Top with mozzarella (they send 2 ounces), and bake it for 12 minutes. Then you have this alleged lasagna. Meanwhile, slice a roll in two, brush with olive oil, and top with raw chopped garlic. Bake this in the oven for 5 minutes. That’s garlic bread, darn it, and you’ll eat it and like it.
Hacking: I honestly don’t think you can make lasagna out of these ingredients. You just need more ingredients, like, for example, the ingredients that usually go into lasagna.
First, I guess we can keep the spinach. Let’s get a fine dice on the onion and garlic, and sauté that in some olive oil. Then add the marinara and the spinach and let that simmer on very low heat. In another pan, cook the noodles until they are a bit under al dente, then rinse with cold water to stop the cooking and to cool them so you can handle them. In another sauce pan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter, then add a tablespoon of flour, and cook it for a couple of minutes over medium heat. Then add a cup of milk and the cream that comes with the kit. Stir over medium heat until this sauce thickens. Then add 1 cup of shredded cheese, which can be anything you have around, but ideally would be some gruyere. Add some salt and white pepper.
In a small oiled baking dish, put a spoonful of marinara in the bottom. Layer in some noodles (hopefully they sent at least six), then top with half of the marinara. Add more noodles, then top with the cheese sauce. Add more noodles, and top with the rest of the marinara. Sprinkle the mozzarella over everything, then bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before eating.
While the lasagna is resting, toast the bread; you can do it in the oven, but using a toaster is fine. When it is golden, take a clove of fresh garlic, and rub this clove of garlic lightly over the cut side of the toasted bread. The bread will pick up the garlic flavor. Then brush the bread with olive oil, and sprinkle with a little salt. This is garlic bread, Spanish style.