Lasagna in a tube

Illustration by Morgan Hannah

Impressive bachelor food

By David Douglas, Contributor


This is just a pasta dish, but it’s fancy. The perfect make-in-advance plate to eat in front of the big screen. Perfect for the bachelor and for when he’s got company. If a man needs to impress anyone, this is the dish to do it.


10 uncooked manicotti noodles

2 cans tomato sauce

1 can tomato paste

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp smoked paprika

1 tbsp basil

1 tbsp chili powder (optional for heat)

1/2 lb ground beef

2 cups (300 grams) chopped frozen spinach (thawed)

500 ml tub cottage cheese

2 eggs

1 cup shredded mozzarella

2 green onions (minced)

salt & pepper to taste


For the sauce (make first):


On low heat in a large saucepan, warm the tomato sauce, tomato paste, brown sugar, smoked paprika, basil, chili powder, salt, and pepper with a lid on—stirring occasionally. It is going to spend some time in the oven, so it should be wetter than you normally would want lasagna sauce to be.


For the stuffing:


In a large sauté pan, break apart the ground beef then brown it. I like to sort of overcook the beef and have it dark. If one desires a smokier flavour, add a wallop of BBQ sauce to the ground beef while it cooks. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let the beef cool enough to touch, then in a large bowl, mix the ground beef, spinach, cottage cheese, and eggs. Use hands to knead until it becomes a consistent squishy goo.


Step-by-step assembly:


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Take handfuls of the meat stuffing to fill the manicotti. Filling is best accomplished by making a fist with the stuffing and placing a noodle at the opening between your index finger and thumb. When you squeeze the stuffing in your hand, it should fill the noodle. Fill the noodle from one end and stop when it just starts to come out on the other side. This process could also be accomplished with a piping bag. Repeat for the other nine noodles, ensuring not to break them. Put any leftover stuffing aside. By now, the flavours in your sauce should fuse since it has been on the oven for awhile. In a large casserole dish, pour the sauce to fill about one to one and a half  centimetres from the bottom. The sauce will help hold your manicotti in place while you arrange your noodles in the casserole dish. Ensure that there is one to two centimetres between all noodles, since they will expand. I usually place them in two columns of five. Pour more sauce over the noodles. It is best if the noodles are barely above the sauce level. With the mozzarella, green onions, and leftover stuffing, garnish the manicotti. Put a wide strip of mozzarella across each noodle column, with a more narrow strip of stuffing along the middle of each strip of cheese. Sprinkle with green onions. Place in oven for about an hour. The sauce should reduce and thicken. It will darken at the edges and on top of the noodles. The noodles should expand and become soft.


For the presentation:

Remove the dish from the oven and serve by carefully scooping under each noodle with a wide spatula taking as much tomato sauce as possible. Placing on a dinner plate. Try to keep your decorative cheese, stuffing, and garnish on top and visible. Spoon additional sauce from the casserole dish on top of the noodle. Serve with a caesar or garden salad—and garlic toast.