Lasagna is a perfect dish for a crowd but can be too much work for feeding just two. This easy lasagna for two recipe using leftover pot roast cuts back on labor, not just portions – the ultimate cozy “date night in” dinner turning last night’s meal into a new dish.
What's in this post
- What's in this post
- Pam's Best Tips
- What you'll need
- How to make lasagna for two
- Best individual lasagna dishesw
- Make ahead and freeze
- Ricotta vs Béchamel sauce debate
- Top tip - How long to bake lasgna for two
- Easy Lasagna for Two Recipe using Leftover Pot Roast
- Common questions asked when making lasagna for two
Pam's Best Tips
When I make my go-to, melt-in-your-mouth pot roast recipe (and it is a good one – be sure to try it), I braise about 2.5 lbs of beef and earmark half a pound of the shredded meat to make this lasagna.
I love this lasagna so much I wanted to figure out a way to streamline the preparation and to assemble it in individual ramakins. Using a jarred tomato sauce as a base we will make a simple braised beef tomato sauce. We will skip cooking the pasta, and instead break up the uncooked noodles. For our cheese layers, we will whip together a 5 min ricotta-spinach cheese mixture, purchase deli slices of provolone and shredded parmesan.
You can assemble all this on the day you want to serve or make it a day or two ahead of time, cover the ramakins and store in the refrigerator until ready to bake.
This ultimate comfort food is baked in individual ramakins, making a perfect dinner for one, two or more – easy to make ahead and freeze for later.
If you like this recipe be sure to try Turkey Lasagna For Two it’s delicious and healthier than traditional meat lasagnas.
What you'll need
Here's a quick overview of some of the key ingredients needed to make this Lasagna for two using left-over pot roast. The full recipe can be found at the bottom of the post.
For braised beef tomato sauce you’ll use:
- Left-over pot roast – this Pot Roast Recipe with Root Vegetables is a keeper. Make a 3-lb pot roast to ensure you have enough left over to make this lasagna.
- A good quality jarred pasta sauce like roasted garlic or tomato & basil, or a spicy red pepper for a little more kick.
- Balsamic vinegar is my secret ingredient to give the jarred sauce a homemade taste.
- Red pepper flakes
Ricotta cheese layer:
- Ricotta cheese – I use whole milk but part-skim works in this recipe. You can also swap out ricotta for cottage cheese. Cottage cheese has a lighter texture versus a rich and creamier texture of ricotta.
- Frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
- Parmesan cheese – purchase the already-grated parmesan to save time.
- Large egg
- Whipping cream or milk
- Dried basil
- Dried oregano
- Ground black pepper
For the noodle and cheese layer:
- Uncooked or “oven ready” dried lasagna noodles that can be broken as we will need to break them to fit in the ramakin.
- Deli slices of provolone cheese
Note: ingredient measurements are in the recipe card below.
How to make lasagna for two
We are going to ditch the traditional 9 x 13 inch dish and use 12 ounce individual ramekins . Store-bought ricotta comes in a 15 oz container, which is more than you need when making lasagna for two, so use the extra to make this delicious ricotta appetizer with grilled bread.
Make the meat sauce. Start by shredding the leftover pot roast using 2 forks. Place the pot roast in a 12-inch skillet, stir in the tomato sauce and the balsamic vinegar. For an extra kick of spice sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Cover and let it simmer on low to thicken up and reheat the pot roast.
Make the ricotta mixture. Simply mix together the ricotta, egg, basil, oregano, parmesan & pepper
Layer your lasagna. Now it’s time to assemble! Spread meat sauce on the bottom of each ramakin, break uncooked noodles and place on top of the sauce (about ½ of a whole noodle per ramakin), enough to cover most of the meat sauce – it’s okay if they overlap.
Spread with the ricotta mixture, sprinkle some parmesan then top with a provolone slice.
Repeat by adding more meat sauce, broken noodles, ricotta and parmesan cheese and top with provolone.
Arrange remaining 3 noodles over cheese pushing down gently to fit 3 layers of lasagna. Spoon the sauce over noodles. Sprinkle remaining parmesan and provolone over lasagna.
Dollop remaining ricotta mixture atop lasagna. Spoon remaining sauce around ricotta dollops.
Bake & serve. Tightly cover each ramekin with foil, place them on a foil lined baking sheet and bake for about 50 minutes, then remove the foil and bake it for 20 more. Garnish with extra parmesan, cool for 5 minutes and serve it up!
Best individual lasagna dishesw
This ultimate comfort food is baked in individual ramakins making a perfect dinner for one, two or more –easy to make ahead and freeze for later. Here are the best freezer to oven safe lasagna dishes that I have used:
- Oval ramekins
- 12 oz ramekins
- Loaf Pan – a loaf pan makes two portions of lasagna in one pan versus baking individual portions.
Make ahead and freeze
You can assemble on the day you want to serve or make it a day or two ahead of time, cover the ramekins and store in the refrigerator until ready to bake.
Can be baked 1 day ahead. Cool slightly. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm, covered with foil, in 350°F oven, about 30-35 minutes.
Freeze baked lasagna for later. After baking, cool for 15 minutes, wrap tightly with foil and place in sealable freezer bag. Rewarm frozen, covered with foil, in 350°F. oven about 45 minutes. You can store lasagna for up to 3 months in the freezer.
Freeze uncooked lasagna to bake later. If you’re freezing lasagna before baking, assemble as written. Make sure it’s fully cooled if it’s hot from the filling.
Avoid freezing still warm lasagna. Not only might it melt other frozen foods around it, but ice crystals are more likely to form.
To prevent ice crystals, first, wrap the entire pan in plastic wrap and remove as much air as possible. Next wrap it all up in aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 3 months.
Ricotta vs Béchamel sauce debate
There is a debate whether lasagna should be made with a creamy ricotta or a béchamel sauce. Using ricotta is easier than making a béchamel sauce, but if you have the time making a béchamel produces a more delicious lasagna – it’s absolutely worth the effort because the rich, creamy sauce balances the acidity from the tomatoes and is better at keeping the layers of pasta together than ricotta.
If you decide to make a béchamel, I like Martha Stewart’s recipe for béchamel sauce. Use this in place of the spinach-ricotta layers in the recipe. Also, the top layer should be the béchamel sauce.
Let me know which side of the ricotta vs béchamel sauce debate you end up on in the comments below!
Top tip - How long to bake lasgna for two
The total bake time for individual lasagnas is 1 hour and 10 minutes. Avoid a crispy and dry lasagna top by baking the lasagna covered for the first 50 minutes, then for the last 15 – 20 minutes uncover. Bake until the sauce is bubbling, the cheese is melted, and the noodles are tender (insert a knife to test the doneness of the noodles).
Easy Lasagna for Two Recipe using Leftover Pot Roast
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For the meat sauce:
- ½ pound pot roast using this tender pot roast recipe
- Pinch of red pepper flakes optional
- 28 oz jar of good quality pasta sauce roasted garlic, tomato & basil or a spicy red pepper
- 1 teaspoon Balsamic vinegar
For Ricotta-spinach layer
- 8 ounces ricotta cheese
- 5 ounces package frozen chopped spinach thawed, squeezed dry
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese divided (instructions)
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons whipping cream or milk
- ¼ teaspoon dried basil
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
For remaining layers
- 5 to 6 uncooked lasagna noodles use the oven ready, dried lasagna noodles
- 6 provolone cheese deli slices about 5 ounces
For the meat sauce:
- In a large skillet, add shredded pot roast, pasta sauce, balsamic vinegar and red pepper flakes. Stir and cook until the sauce is warm over medium heat. Now turn down the heat to low and let simmer 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired.
Make Ricotta mixture:
- Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 375°F. Whisk ricotta, spinach, ¼ cup Parmesan, eggs, cream, basil, oregano and pepper in large bowl. Set aside.
Assemble and Bake:
- Spoon ⅓ cup sauce over bottom of each ramakin. Break apart 1 noodle and place over sauce in single layer in each ramakin. You might use only ½ a noodle in each ramekin. Spread ⅓ cup sauce over noodles. Spoon 3 tablespoons of ricotta mixture over sauce. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons Parmesan and 1 slice of provolone over ricotta mixture. Repeat layering with broken noodles, ⅓ cup sauce, 3 tablespoons ricotta mixture, 2 tablespoons Parmesan and 1 provolone slice. Arrange remaining broken noodles over cheese. Spoon ⅓ cup sauce over noodles. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons Parmesan and 1 provolone slice over lasagna. Dollop remaining ricotta mixture atop each lasagna. Spoon remaining sauce around ricotta dollops. Tightly cover baking dish with foil.
- Bake lasagna 50 minutes; uncover and continue baking until noodles are tender (insert knife to check doneness of noodles) and lasagna is hot and bubbly, about 25 minutes longer. Let lasagna stand 5 minutes before serving. Serve.
Your Notes, Tips and Tricks
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
Common questions asked when making lasagna for two
You've got questions...I've got answers! If you have a question about this recipe that isn't answered below, feel free to leave it in the comments, and I'll jump in there to help you out.
Personal preference, but I like the creamy, rich texture of ricotta. Use cottage cheese form a lighter texture.
Three! Most recipes you'll find for lasagna call for a minimum of three layers, which seems to be the universal standard. Anything less, at least according to my friend’s Italian grandmother, cannot be considered a true lasagna.
1. Spread a thin layer of pasta sauce in the bottom of a baking dish.
2. Make a layer of lasagna noodles.
3. Spread an even layer of the ricotta cheese mixture.
4. Sprinkle with parmesan and provolone.
5. Spread an even layer of meat sauce.
6. Repeat those layers two times.
7. Top it with a final layer of noodles, sauce and provolone.
8. Dollop with ricotta cheese mixture, spoon remaining sauce around ricotta and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
Baking lasagna uncovered will result in a dry and crispy top. The best approach is to bake lasagna covered for first 50 minutes, remove the foil so the top can brown. If, once it's fully cooked, the top still looks pale, turn on the broiler to help move things along.
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