Loose-Leaf Roasted Tomato Lasagna Recipe

This Italian tomato lasagna is made by layering ingredients directly on serving plates.

2 pints cherry tomatoes*
2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 tsp finely chopped garlic
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Black pepper to taste
400-450 g ricotta cheese
4 tsp basil pesto
750 g ground veal or beef
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
1-1/2 tsp chili powder
1-1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Black pepper to taste
4 sheets fresh lasagna noodles

* You can substitute cherry tomatoes with grape tomatoes sold on the vine or larger tomatoes chopped into large chunks.


Step 1: Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Step 2: In a large bowl, mix tomatoes, oil, garlic, sugar, salt and pepper. Pour mixture into shallow baking dish large enough to hold tomatoes in a single layer. Scrape all oil and spices onto tomatoes. Set aside.

Step 3: Drizzle olive oil in the bottom of another shallow baking dish. Spread ricotta in a 1/2" layer in dish. Spread pesto on ricotta. Place both tomatoes and ricotta on middle rack of oven to roast (total cooking time will be about 20 minutes roasting plus a 2-minute broil) while doing next steps.

Step 4: Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.

Step 5: While water is boiling, drizzle olive oil into a large frying pan at medium-high heat. Add meat and break up with a wooden spatula or spoon. Stir in onion and all spices. Cook until meat is well browned and fragrant.

Step 6: Cut sheets of lasagna pasta into two large rectangles (about 3" x 5") per serving. Cook pasta, drain and toss with olive oil to prevent sticking. Cover and keep warm.

Step 7: When tomatoes are finished roasting (they will soften and skins will begin to split), turn on broiler and heat until skins begin to char and ricotta bubbles. Remove from oven. Slice ricotta into 8 equal sections.

Step 8: To layer ingredients for each serving, put a couple tbsp of hot tomato juices (but no tomatoes) onto serving dish. Place a piece of noodle over juices, top with cooked meat and a couple spoonfuls of roasted tomatoes and juices, another piece of noodle, two pieces of baked ricotta, more cooked meat, a mound of tomatoes, then drizzle with juices. Serve immediately.

Andrew Grinton