The Mini Lasagna Recipe Bethenny Frankel Is Calling Andy Cohen About

New York foodie @hungry_happens caught Bethenny Frankel's eye when she posted a cheesy, veggie, mini lasagna on Instagram. So much so, in fact, that the "Real Housewives of New York" star decided to hop on Instagram Live with Andy Cohen to discuss the pint-sized treat.

It's mini, it's baked in a loaf pan, it's lasagna — what's not to like? Frankel and Cohen agreed — but one teeny tiny voice on Cohen's side of the phone conversation said that mini lasagna sounded somewhere in the vicinity of "blech." That was the sweet cautionary word from Andy's toddler son, who was not interested in lasagna, period — mini, loaf pan, or otherwise.

However, not all of use are home chefs. We have yet to find a "simple" recipe that can survive when we forget to set the timer, or we accidentally substitute cilantro for oregano (hey, they look similar). In other words, we'll pretty much try anything, especially simplified lasagna that looks like it legitimately cuts down on prep time, cooking time, and clean-up time, especially if it comes with a Frankel/Cohen witty repartee thrown in for good measure.

Parchment, parmesan, prosciutto, oh my

The @hungry_happens recipe Bethenny Frankel honed in on starts with parchment paper, olive oil, prosciutto, the cheese of your choice, thin-sliced zucchini, and a breadcrumb mixture that is seasoned and then boosted with a bit of parmesan. If you want keto or gluten-free, @hungry_happens, also known as Stella Drivas, suggests substituting almond flour. (Drivas features the full mini lasagna recipe on her blog, Hungry Happens.)

If a mini loaf is still too big for your lasagna britches, registered dietitian and recipe developer Kristen Carli has an ingenious muffin-size lasagna recipe. This recipe calls for a few extra steps, including boiling the noodles (yes, boiling is the one thing we hopeless kitchen hacks consistently pull off with aplomb), cooking the meat (admittedly trickier, but we can rise to the challenge), then assembling individual portions with pasta sauce, ricotta cheese, mozzarella, and seasonings before baking. It's a more traditional list of ingredients, though substitutions can be made easily enough.

But if your lasagna recipe has no noodles, no sauce, no ricotta cheese, is it still considered lasagna? For that answer, we'll need to revisit Naples and a cookbook circa the 14th century. Or was it Greece where lasagna first originated?

The history of lasagna

The name lasagna stems from "laganon," a descriptor of a Greek fermented noodle, known to be the first pasta, explains Cucinaventi. The sheet-like noodles used in today's traditional take on lasagna are called "lasagne" in Italian, which is the plural form. These thin sheets of wheat flour dough were oven baked or made over an open fire as far back as ancient Roman days. The dish at that time was called "lasana," which meant piling meat, cheese, and pasta sheets in one pot (per The Pasta Project).

Despite those early first steps of flat sheet noodles and one-pot wonders, even we kitchen hacks can trace the honed specificity of lasagna to the Italian way. It bounced from a dessert recipe featuring cinnamon and sugar to the current savory, cheesy entrée it is today, though recipes still vary from region to region.

That flexibility bodes well for our mini loaf- and muffin-size lasagna recipes. No sauce? No noodles? No meat? No problem.