Certain recipes lend themselves to being altered based on personal preferences or ingedients on hand, and lasagna is one of them. I bought some of those no-boil lasagna sheets a couple of months ago and have been meaning to put them in the oven since then. I finally got sufficient motivation today, and I came across Mario Batali’s recipe for lasagna bolognese.

I sort of stuck to Mario’s formula, and I’m sure that following it exactly would result in a truly memorable dish. But I didn’t start cooking until almost 8 pm, and I didn’t have a few of the ingredients. Also, I thought I had a pound of lasagna, but in fact I had just eight ounces. Furthermore, I didn’t want to use four cups of milk for dinner. Oh, and I didn’t have any ground meat, so this wasn’t really bolognese. I did have bacon, though, which I cut into lardons and used in place of the ground pancetta. (Who has ground pancetta?)

So I improvised my way through it, and apart from looking crazy and not being sufficiently salty, it was delicious enough for me to have three helpings. I had mozzarella in the fridge, so I put slices of that on top for bubbly brown goodness.


I just love the no-boil lasagne; now you’ve got to try them in Ruth Reichl’s version with the butternut squash and hazelnuts. It is sublime—now there is a dish you will eat with hushed reverence!

I have that recipe and a butternut squash. Maybe I’ll give it a go this weekend.

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