Like many of my friends, my friend Oliver is really into food. I wouldn’t say he’s as obsessed as I am, but I do know we share a tendency to pour over online menus, planning our meals before we even set foot in the restaurant. We also cook dinner together once a week before settling in to watch a few hours of (usually pretty trashy) TV. It’s one of those random routines that has worked fairly effortlessly for us for years.
The only hard part is deciding what to make each week. While our food preferences can vary a bit (I probably couldn’t pay him to try foie gras), the main issue is actually our timeline — we meet at 7pm and try to be done cooking within thirty minutes so we have ample TV time.
Even working with this limitation, we have put out some damn good food, including this crispy orange chicken and a roasted rack of pork with vegetables. But one of my favorite things we cooked recently were this little mini lasagnas, made by using wonton wrappers.
They are crazy easy to put together, are done cooking in less than twenty minutes (hooray!) and will satisfy any lasagna craving.
The recipe we used, which can be found here, was a great jumping off point. We decided the next time we made them that we would brush the wrappers in a bit of garlic oil first because they did have an ever-so-slight filminess (I’m guessing due to the starch used to keep the wrappers from sticking together).
I did end up making them a second time on my own and brushing them with oil definitely helped take that away. While I’m sure you could also moisten them a bit with water instead, I thought the oil added a little extra crispiness to the wrappers that was quite delicious. This really made them taste like the edge pieces from a lasagna pan (which are always the best part, in my opinion).
Either way these were a treat to eat and would be perfect for kids or as an hors d’oeuvre for a party. They are cheesy, garlicky and a little spicy — all good things!
Mini Lasagnas (makes 12-14)
- 1/2 Cup onion, finely chopped
- 2 Cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/3 Pound of ground beef
- 1 Cup pasta sauce
- 1 Package wonton wrappers (you’ll need about 24-28)
- 1 Cup ricotta cheese
- 2 Cups of both grated mozzarella and Parmesan
- 3 Sprigs of fresh basil (optional)
- Red chili flake (optional)
- 2 TB garlic oil or olive oil (optional)
- 2 Muffin tins
Sauté the garlic and onions until tender, add beef, cook until done. Drain of excess grease, season with salt, pepper and chili flake if using. Add pasta sauce.
Mix ricotta cheese with 1 cup each of the mozzarella and Parmesan (leaving 1 cup of each for later).
Lightly grease the muffin pans. Then layer one wonton wrapper in each muffin tin. Brush wrapper with oil, if using. Add a little scoop of cheese mixture, followed by a little bit of meat/sauce mixture.
Top that layer with one more wonton wrapper, brushed with oil. Repeat layering process. Top with reserved cheese.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, until brown and hot all the way through. Let sit for a few minutes to set.
Top with basil and serve!