Y’all already know how much I love lasagna, so when I sat down to dinner in Baton Rouge and someone served me this dish that was like a Southern spin on it, you know I fell in love. The crushed Ritz crackers on the bottom just soak up all the great tomato juices, and the layer on top gives it a buttery, crunchy crust. In between, it’s all melty, creamy, cheesy greatness.
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
2. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, drizzle in the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and cook until tender, 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Next, add in the tomatoes, basil, salt, thyme, and pepper. Stir. Cook for 15 minutes, then turn off the heat and set the pan to the side.
4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise, cheddar, and Havarti. Set aside.
5. In the baking dish, sprinkle 1/3 of the crushed Ritz crackers (save 1 cup for the topping!). Make sure that it is spread evenly on the bottom. Pour half of the tomato mixture on top of the Ritz crackers. Repeat the layers.
6. Top the layers with the mayonnaise-and-cheese mixture and smooth out. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup crushed Ritz on top. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes before serving.
© 2020 by Rosie Mayes. Excerpted from I Heart Soul Food by permission of Sasquatch Books. 2020.
Images © Michael Kartes