Every time I try and make an extra layered lasagna, it's never as deep as I want it to be. I decided to find a deeper vessel for my lasagna and finally settled on a mason jar. The fun thing about this lasagna is you can really dig deep through the layers and when you eventually reach the cream sauce and pesto its like you have uncovered buried treasure! I actually had an extra thin and long fork that was the perfect spelunking tool.
My initial idea on these was to make jarsagnas (or lasanjars?) as Christmas gifts for people and hand them out frozen, but I decided not to. First of all, they were pretty tedious to make. It was totally worth it because they were amazing, but making a couple of them with friends helping out was fun, making 20 to hand out to people would be a nightmare and not even that good of a gift since it's single serving. Secondly, putting a frozen glass into a preheated oven would probably result in an explosion and I didn't want to be known as the lasagna bomber for the rest of my life! More on baking in mason jars at the bottom of this post.
Use the very jar you will be making these in as a cookie cutter to make perfect rounds. They will be a little too big at the bottom of the jar, but about halfway up they will start fitting perfectly.
It takes a lot of rounds to build a jar. But that's what makes it awesome so don't get discouraged!
Pop the bottom layers in and brush on the pesto. Don't get pesto on the sides or you won't get that nice Italian flag look at the end.
Next bunch of layers get cream sauce with extra mozzarella.
Then finally the tomato sauce and ricotta. This is best for the top 50% so that it falls down as you eat and you get some tomato sauce bites throughout.
Ready for the oven. I put these into a cold oven to prevent any explosions.
When I pulled them out of the oven they had this amazing souffle effect, but they fell after a few minutes.
So so good. Amazingly good. Classic lasagna flavors, extra special from the cream and pesto, and even better with the layers and layers. My estimate is that there were about 30 layers in each jar.
There isn't much to explain on this recipe, you guys know how to make meat sauce, pesto, and cream sauce already. When you make your pasta dough, roll it out as thin as your pasta roller will go. Then use the jar (I used 16oz wide mouth pint jars) as a cookie cutter to make your pasta rounds. It takes a ton of rounds to fill a jar. If you make a standard 3 flour 4 egg batch of pasta it will fill 3 jars, and that's WITH re-rolling out the scraps.
Before you start building, blanch the pasta rounds in salted boiling water for about 20 seconds. I did this in batches of 10 and built layers of lasagna as I went with each freshly boiled batch. When you're building the lasagna, it will be tough at first to get the rounds into the bottom of the jars to lay somewhat flat. Don't worry about getting it perfect! After about halfway through the jar it will start getting much easier. Start with the pesto between the layers, then about 1/4 of the way, go with the cream sauce and lots of mozzarella. Then for the top 50% do the tomato sauce with mozzarella and ricotta. Go right to the top and pop some extra mozz right on there.
*Now lets talk about baking in mason jars. Officially this is not sanctioned by the mason jar people. These jars are however built to withstand pressure cooker sanitizing, so they are fine in the oven as long as you take some precautions. First, you don't want to bake them too hot. I did 325 on these and baked them for 45 minutes. Second, drastic temperature swings are not good for glass. Don't freeze these and then pop them into a preheated oven or you will have some lasagna bombs on your hands! I have read some blogs that say this isn't a big deal, but I personally would highly advise against it. I put these onto a baking dish in a cold oven, then turned the oven on and set the timer for 45 minutes. when I took them out of the oven, I kept them on the baking dish so as not to put them onto a cool surface. I also allowed them to cool for a solid 15 minutes before handling and eating out of. I may be overly precautions, but I have had a few glass baking dishes shatter on me and it's pretty scary.