Before I begin this post, let me just say, YES, I do realize the seeming wrongness of the word “lasagna” followed by the word “cupcakes.” The idea of noodles and tomato sauce combined with cake and frosting is too weird even for me. BUT stick with me–it’s not what it sounds like! Fortunately, the cupcake part of the term “lasagna cupcake” is merely descriptive of the fact that these shrink-rayed lasagnas are baked in a cupcake tin…or a muffin tin. So you could also call them “lasagna muffins.” Equally strange.
I decided to give these miniature entrees a whirl in anticipation of our annual Christmas party. The menu is still in the finalization stage, but these have definitely made the cut. Their small size and overall uniqueness make them an ideal choice for a party buffet, and they’re hearty enough to be a dinner mainstay, not just an appetizer. Piping hot out of the oven, these are gooey, meaty, cheesy bites of Italianate deliciousness. Can you tell I’m smitten?
(Adapted from Tablespoon.com)
3/4 lb. ground beef or turkey (I used turkey)
salt and pepper
36 wonton wrappers
1 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 c. ricotta cheese
2 c. shredded mozzarella
1 26-oz. jar tomato-basil spaghetti sauce
Basil leaves, for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 1 1/2 12-cup muffin tins (18 muffin wells).
2. Brown ground beef or turkey over medium-high heat. Season generously with salt and pepper. Drain.
3. Press 1 wonton wrapper into the bottom of 18 muffin wells. Sprinkle a layer of Parmesan on top of each wrapper, then a thin layer of ricotta and a sprinkle of mozzarella. Using your fingers, crumble a layer of ground meat on top of cheese, then spoon a small amount of spaghetti sauce on meat.
4. Repeat layers again: wonton wrapper, Parmesan, ricotta, mozzarella, meat, sauce. Top with one more sprinkle of mozzarella and Parmesan.
5. Bake 18-20 minutes or until edges are brown. Let stand for 5 minutes, then loosen edges with a knife and remove from pan.
Makes 18 “cupcakes.”