Recipe courtesy of Dweezil Zappa and Lisa Loeb

Cupcake Lasagna

Dweezil and Lisa love these Cupcake Lasagnas because you can customize each one — more sauce or more cheese, with or without spinach or even adding ground turkey or meat. They exemplify the Dweezil and Lisa's approach to food — you can make them as healthy or decadent as you prefer, and the individual size is perfect portion control. You can layer them traditionally or tint the ricotta cheese to create frosting with a cherry tomato and basil garnish to continue the deception. They freeze beautifully as well.
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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 50 min
  • Prep: 1 hr
  • Cook: 50 min
  • Yield: 8 servings
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Tomato Sauce, recipe follows

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 to 4 cloves garlic, peeled

Pinch red pepper flakes

1 pound cleaned spinach

1/2 small lemon, juiced

1 package round wonton wrappers

8 ounces mozzarella, grated

3 ounces Parmesan, grated

4 ounces ricotta cheese (half reserved for frosting if desired)

8 cherry tomatoes, for garnish

8 small basil leaves, for garnish

Tomato Sauce:

3 tablespoons extra-virgin oil

6 cloves garlic, peeled

Ground black pepper

6 fresh basil leaves 

1 cup dry white wine

3/4 teaspoon beef bouillon paste

3/4 teaspoon vegetable bouillon paste

2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes (recommended: San Marzano) 

3 whole carrots, peeled and cut into large pieces

Kosher salt


Special equipment:
8-cup nonstick muffin pan
  1. Prepare the tomato sauce. 
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. 
  3. To start the lasagnas: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic cloves and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic is golden, about 5 minutes. Remove and discard the garlic. Add the spinach, a handful at a time, and stir-fry until it wilts, about 3 minutes. Add the lemon juice then transfer the spinach to a colander set over a bowl to drain. 
  4. Reserve 8 tablespoons of Parmesan and 8 tablespoons of mozzarella¿this will be the topping. The remaining cheese will be used in the lasagnas (note you can vary the amount of cheese to taste keeping in mind that the Parmesan is salty, the mozzarella is sweet as well as salty and helps to hold the lasagnas together, and the ricotta is sweet and creamy). 
  5. Start assembling the lasagnas. Line each cupcake mold with a round wonton wrapper. Put a little Parmesan, a little mozzarella, and a little ricotta into each mold. Top with a little spinach and a spoonful of sauce. Repeat layers of wonton wrappers, cheeses, spinach and sauce, creating 6 layers in all, and ending with sauce. Sprinkle each lasagna with reserved Parmesan and mozzarella. (The "cupcakes" can alternatively be topped with Pink Ricotta Frosting. (See Cook's Note.) 
  6. Bake until the lasagnas are nicely browned, about 20 minutes. Serve warm garnished with cherry tomatoes and basil leaves.

Tomato Sauce:

Yield: 4 cups
  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat (it should coat the bottom of the pan, add a bit more if your pan is wide). Add the garlic cloves. Season with black pepper and cook, stirring frequently until the garlic is golden, about 5 minutes. Remove and discard the garlic. Lower the heat to medium and add the basil. Cook just until the basil wilts, then add the wine. Stir in the beef and vegetable bouillon pastes, then add the tomatoes and carrots. Simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are soft and the sauce sweet, about 25 minutes. Discard the carrots. Season the sauce with salt and pepper then refrigerate or freeze until needed. 

Cook’s Note

To make Pink Ricotta Frosting, beat 1 egg white with 4 ounces of Ricotta cheese. Add red food coloring. Omit the final cheese topping in the recipe above. Pipe or spoon the frosting onto each cupcake then bake.

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