There are all kinds of stories related to the name of this dish. If you know a little bit of Italian (or other Romantic language), you can probably figure out why. Puttana translates into prostitute and it’s been theorized that this is a dish women “of the night” would use to lure men.
Because most everything in this dish can be kept in the pantry, I like to think of it as a quick dish when you have little fresh food on hand. And, well, that can go along with the story line, too. It’s something that can be whipped up and eaten in bed when you’re too tired to make a whole meal.
I’m back with my Dutch Oven and a new recipe for what I call “Lazy Lasagna”–but it could also be a pasta bake, if you’d like. I call it Lazy Lasagna, because it has all the ingredients of my regular lasagna without all the time consuming layering.
To make this dish, I started with cooking two boxes (two pounds) of Barilla’s Mezzi Rigatoni, which is a short but wide tube of pasta. I cook the rigatoni for 10 minutes only, because I want to keep my pasta firm. Regular rigatoni or even ziti would work just as well, so feel free to use what you have.
When the pasta has cooked, drain off the water in a colander and return the cooked pasta to the original pot. It’s helpful if you do not overly drain your pasta for this one, because a little of the pasta water will help when mixing your ingredients into the pasta.
To the drained pasta, add a full container of ricotta, a jar of pre-made sauce OR your own homemade sauce, a generous portion of shredded mozzarella cheese and seasoning. I like to add salt, pepper, a touch of crushed pepper, and a blend of dried basil, oregano and rosemary, but obviously adjust to your preference. Mix until blended well.
Add some sauce to the bottom of your Dutch Oven then add your pasta mixture. Two pounds of pasta with all the other mix-ins will fill a 5.5 quart Dutch Oven almost to the top. If you have a smaller pan, adjust accordingly.
Top the pasta mixture with the remaining sauce and then sprinkle the top with shredded mozzarella and then a healthy portion of shredded, dry cheese (I use Stella Three Cheese Italian, which is a mixture of Parmesan, Asiago and Romano cheeses).
Cover and bake in your preheated 375 degree oven for 45 minutes. Then remove the cover and bake for another 10-15 minutes to brown the cheese on top.
Two boxes of Mezzi Rigatoni or similar tube shaped pasta
Two jars of prepared pasta sauce or equivalent of homemade sauce
One 32 ounce container of ricotta cheese
Two cups (or so) shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup shredded Italian cheese blend
Seasonings such as salt, pepper, crushed pepper, basil, oregano and rosemary