One Pot Deconstructed Lasagna is an easier, faster way to comforting lasagna! This is packed with an easy homemade red sauce, salty sausage, creamy ricotta cheese, and of course, plenty of gooey mozzarella cheese. It’s the perfect way to enjoy lasagna any day of the week.
One Pot Deconstructed Lasagna
What happens you’re craving gooey, cheesy lasagna, but you’re bouncing back between soccer practice, work, carpool, and everything in between? And it’s the middle of the week? You make One Pot Deconstructed Lasagna.
While I’m a huge fan of lasagna on a cool fall day, I’m not typically a fan of spending hours in the kitchen on the weeknights. Or ever. Deconstructed lasagna is the perfect alternative to slaving away in the kitchen creating layer after painstaking layer of noodles, meat, and sauce.
Skip cooking the noodles in a separate pot. Do away with dirtying up three different dishes. And relax.
Deconstructed lasagna still includes all the usual suspects in a classic lasagna. Aldente lasagna noodles. A hearty meat sauce. Creamy ricotta. And gooey mozzarella cheese, of course. <– Because is lasagna even lasagna without copious amounts of cheese?
My favorite part of lasagna is getting a forkful of every element in all the layers, and deconstructed lasagna does just that. Every single bite is packed with tangy red sauce, sausage, creamy ricotta and mozzarella. And honestly? I just can’t get enough.
I especially love this for young kiddos because even though mine can maneuver a fork pretty well, they still haven’t mastered the ability to cut into something like lasagna themselves. This allows me to spoon a portion on their plates and they can go to town, while I do the same.
Ingredients in One Pot Deconstructed Lasagna
Sausage. In an Italian dish like deconstructed lasagna, I’d normally use an Italian sausage, but I had some regular ol’ mild bulk sausage in my fridge so that’s what I used. You can do the same. Use whatever you’ve got on hand, or whatever you prefer.
Onion and garlic. Always the base to any of my red sauces.
Red Wine. Red wine adds an unbelievable amount of flavor to sauces, and it’s something I always use when making red sauce. Any drinkable red wine will do.
Tomato puree. I prefer a tomato puree that doesn’t have any seeds. You can use a tomato puree that has added basil and garlic, or simple pureed tomatoes. Anything goes.
Tomato paste. I always like to add little bit of tomato paste to my red sauces to add a little bit of structure and concentrated tomato flavor to the sauce. A little bit goes a long way when combined with tomato puree. Some of my favorite brands are Miur Glenn and Organico Bello, but use your favorite!
Water. Because the noodles cook directly in the sauce, you need a little extra liquid for the noodles to soak up. If you see the sauce getting a little low or a little too thick, add a touch more water.
Spices. Fennel seeds, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, dried basil, and sugar. If you’re using sweet Italian sausage you may want to cut the amount of fennel seeds in half as most sweet sausages already have fennel in them.
Lasagna noodles. No-cook noodles aren’t necessary here. Regular lasagna noodles work great. Plus, I love all the curly edges that stick out and crisp up while baking. Break up the noodles into bite-sized pieces.
Ricotta cheese. Use whole-milk ricotta. I don’t like the taste and texture of ricotta that has a low fat content. I also look for a ricotta that has a low sugar content.
Mozzarella cheese. Fresh mozzarella cheese is what you want. You can buy a whole ball and cut it into small pieces or you can buy the cute little balls of mozzarella. Either works.
How to make Deconstructed Lasagna
Make the sauce.
Cook the sausage. I don’t need the sausage to brown here, but it’s ok if it does. Any amount of brown bits that accumulate on the bottom of the pan are added flavor to the sauce and I’ll take it.
Add onion and garlic. Once the sausage is almost done cooking, add the onion, garlic, and a good amount of salt. Sweat until the onion and garlic are softened and the sausage is cooked through.
Stir in the rest of the sauce ingredients. Whisk in tomato paste, tomato puree, water, spices, and remaining salt. Bring to a boil and let it simmer. That’s it.
This is where deconstructed lasagna really comes in to action. Normally you would now cook the lasagna noodles, and then spend the better part of an half hour layering everything into a casserole dish. You’d also have to wait for it to bake in the oven for close to an hour. Here, we basically just dump and stir.
Stir in the lasagna noodles. Once the sauce simmers for a couple minutes, I like to give it a quick taste and see if it needs any extra seasoning. I usually have to add a little bit more salt.
Break up the lasagna noodles over the sauce (to catch any rogue noodles) and stir them in.
Cook the noodles. Once the noodles are in, return the sauce to a simmer. Cover and let the noodles cook until aldente. To prevent the noodles from sticking, stir every five minutes or so. Depending on how fast your noodles soak up the sauce, you may need to add a touch of water.
Add ricotta and mozzarella. After the noodles cook, it’s time to add the cheese! I like to start with the ricotta. I use a tablespoon to push some of the noodles to the side and spoon pockets of creamy ricotta in a bunch of different areas. Last, the mozzarella. Since it’s pretty solid you can just use your fingers or a spoon to nestle the mozzarella into different areas of the pasta. The cheesier the better!
Bake. Pop in the oven just until the cheese is melted, and the edges start to crisp up, it takes about 10 minutes.
Can I make this in advance?
You can make deconstructed lasagna in advance, however, I wouldn’t recommend adding the cheese until just before you cook. When you make it ahead the noodles will soak up more sauce than they would if you served it right away. You may need to add more water to the noodles and sauce before heating it up.
If you do decide to make it advance, do everything up until adding the cheese. Cool completely, cover and store. When you’re ready to reheat, take it out of the fridge and if you have time, let it rest for 20 minutes at room temperature. Gently reheat it over a low flame and if necessary, add more water. Continue to cook as instructed.
Do I have to use ricotta and mozzarella?
I’m going to say yes. The ricotta and mozzarella are really what gives this that lasagna vibe. I wouldn’t leave them out.
Substitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- Be sure to stir the lasagna noodles every five minutes or so while cooking. If you don’t, they may stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Make sure to season to taste! I’ve added enough seasoning for my taste, but every palate is different.
- Use any kind of sausage you’d like, but if you use sweet Italian sausage, and it already has fennel seeds in it, reduce the amount of fennel seeds we’ve instructed you to use by half.
- Use a red wine you like to drink! Anything subpar will reflect in the final result.
- If it looks like the sauce is getting dry and the noodles need a little bit more liquid to finish cooking, add 1/4 cup of water and stir.
- Make sure to dry the mozzarella before adding it to the pasta.
Other comforting fall/winter dishes
- These Spaghetti and Meatballs are the BEST. The meatballs are SO flavorful, tender, but firm, and completely addictive.
- If you want to stay on the one-pot train, try this Healthier One-Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs. This version is made with chicken meatballs and whole-wheat pasta, so you can feel good about getting your comfort on!
- This Baked Ravioli with Italian Sausage and Ricotta is another great kid-friendly and hearty dish. We love to serve it with this Kale and Brussels sprouts Salad.
- 1/2 lb bulk sausage
- 1/2 medium onion, diced
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
- 2 tsp kosher salt, divided
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 24 oz jarred seedless strained tomatoes or canned crushed tomatoes
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp dried basil
- 2 cups water
- 10 lasagna noodles
- 1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, either cut into bite-sized pieces or bought in small balls
- Large skillet
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Add sausage to a large skillet. Cook over a medium heat, breaking up the sausage with a wooden spoon. Once the sausage is about halfway done cooking, add the onion, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Continue to cook until onions are soft, about 3 minutes. Add red wine. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer until reduced by half. Scrape up any brown bits with a wooden spoon.
- Whisk in tomato paste, tomato puree, remaining salt, garlic powder, onion powder, sugar, basil, and water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes. Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper.
- Break up lasagna noodles and add them to the sauce. Stir. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook until noodles are aldente. Stir every five minutes to prevent the noodles from sticking. If it looks like the noodles need a little bit extra liquid, add 1/4 cup of water.
- Once the noodles are aldente, give them a stir. Spoon tablespoons of ricotta in pockets of the noodles. Make sure it's evenly distributed. Do the same for the mozzarella. Put the whole skillet in the oven, uncovered. Bake until the cheese has melted. Serve immediately.