Karin Calloway

Food columnist for The Augusta Chronicle.

Lasagna goes light

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Lasagna is great for entertaining, because it can be made ahead and baked in the oven while you enjoy your guests.

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Tomato Basil Lasagna.  Corey Perrine/Staff
Corey Perrine/Staff
Tomato Basil Lasagna.

The downsides are that most lasagnas are too heavy for the summer, require tons of work and have long baking times.

Here's a recipe for a tomato-basil lasagna that's different: It's quick, easy and delivers a fresh taste that's ideal for this time of year.

The recipe is based on a more elaborate one from Italian chef Marcella Hazan.

Her version calls for homemade spinach pasta, and if you like to make pasta from scratch, go ahead and use it in this recipe. I have found, however, that the no-cook lasagna noodles available in most supermarkets are a good substitute for fresh. The trick is to give them a soak in hot water rather than layering them dry, as the box dictates.

Tomato-Basil Lasagna

1 box (10 ounces) no-boil lasagna noodles

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound shredded mozzarella cheese

2 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes, preferably petite diced, drained well

1 teaspoon finely chopped or pressed garlic

1 cup fresh basil leaves, roughly torn into pieces

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided

1/4 cup dry bread crumbs

Olive oil

Set oven to 400 degrees. Fill a large baking dish with very hot water and add the lasagna noodles. Set aside for five minutes and then remove the noodles and drain on paper towels.

Meanwhile, combine the mozzarella, drained tomatoes, garlic, basil, olive oil and w cups of the grated Parmesan in a large bowl. Set aside.

Drizzle some olive oil in the bottom of a 9-by-12-inch baking dish. Line the bottom of the pan with some of the noodles and cover with a layer of the mozzarella mixture. Repeat layers until all noodles and filling are used, ending with a layer of pasta. Sprinkle the top with the remaining q cup of Parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup of bread crumbs and drizzle with a little olive oil.

Bake, uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes, until bubbly and top is golden. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 6 servings.

See Karin prepare the recipe at noon Tuesday on television station WJBF (Channel 6). For more recipes, check out our recipe archive at recipes.augusta.com.

Reach Karin Calloway at karin.calloway@comcast.net. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/karincalloway.

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RECIPE REQUEST

Can you help Paula Lee of Acworth, Ga., find a recipe she has been trying to re-create for years?

Lee lived in Augusta and enjoyed the éclairs and cream puffs from a bakery on Walton Way named Bates Bakery. She says she stopped by there almost every day for an éclair, which had a thick, very yellow custard filling, chocolate frosting and a sprinkling of pecans.

Although the bakery has been closed for a long time (she enjoyed the confections in the 1940s and '50s, and the cost at the time was 15 cents), Lee is hoping a member of the Bates family passed the recipe along to a friend or family member.

Lee says the filling was similar in color and thickness to vanilla pudding mix prepared with very little milk, but it was a cooked custard.

Can you help Lee find the recipe? If you can, contact Karin Calloway at karin.calloway@comcast.net or call (706) 828-3946.

WHAT'S COOKING IN YOUR KITCHEN?

Do you have a favorite recipe or a signature dish that you are known for? Share it with The Augusta Chronicle.

We're looking for your best kitchen creations, whether it's a simple chili with a twist or an elaborate continental concoction.

Our food writer, Karin Calloway, will re-create your dish, and we'll feature your kitchen talent on the Wednesday Food page of The Chronicle.

Send your recipe and contact information to karin.calloway@comcast.net, or write to Recipe Favorites, Newsroom, The Augusta Chronicle, P.O. Box 1928, Augusta, GA 30903-1928.

RESTAURANT FAVORITES DECODED

Is there some favorite dish served at a restaurant that you would like to cook at home? Tell us what the dish is, and where you've had it, and food writer Karin Calloway will try to track it down for you.

Contact her at karin.calloway@comcast.net, or write to Restaurant Recipes, Newsroom, The Augusta Chronicle, P.O. Box 1928, Augusta, GA 30903-1928.


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