Thursday 11 April 2013


Until quite recently, these were the only tortillas you could purchase in grocery stores in our area.

They come in different flavours but they're all parcooked, fairly thick, leathery in texture, and cardboard in flavour.  (Can you tell I don't love them?  ;^) 

They are the reason why, for many years, I felt that tortillas were a waste of good flour.  

I know better now.  A freshly made tortilla is a whole 'nother thing!

You can imagine, though, that I was less than pleased when I came home from work a while back to find a package of those cardboard-tasting wonders on my counter.  (My fella meant well.  He just didn't understand the depth of my dislike.)

My dislike of food waste runs even deeper than my dislike of unpleasant tortillas though, so I endeavoured to find a way to cook them that I might actually enjoy.  

This is what I came up with.  It's a cross between taco flavours and lasagna, and it's mighty tasty - even if I do say so myself!  

There appear to be a lot of steps to this recipe but it can be assembled quite quickly and the end result is well worth the effort.  Please do give it a try.  I know you'll like it.

To make Tacsagne, you'll need:

  • Several flour tortillas (The quantity will depend upon the size of tortilla you're using.  If the tortillas are small, or your dish large, you may need more than one per layer.)
  • 1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef, cooked and crumbled
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons taco seasoning (I use this recipe)
  • 2-10 ounce packages frozen chopped spinach
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup ricotta
  • 1 to 1-1/2 cups grated mozzarella 
  • olive oil
  • chili powder
  • salt

Combine the ground beef, tomato sauce, and taco seasoning, stirring until well combined.

Thaw the spinach (I did this in the microwave), squeeze as much liquid from it as you can, then break it up with a fork.

Prepare a round casserole by spraying it with pan release or brushing it with oil.

Place a tortilla in the bottom of the casserole. (Mine were larger than the dish so I used kitchen shears to trim them down to size.)

Cover the tortilla with a little less than half of the meat sauce.

Cover the meat sauce with a generous amount of spinach.

It's hard to spread ricotta evenly over crumbled spinach so I chose instead to spread it thickly onto a tortilla.  

Place the tortilla ricotta-side-down on top of the crumbled spinach layer.

Repeat the layers of meat sauce, spinach, and ricotta-spread tortilla, reserving about a half cup of meat sauce.  (Try to save the most liquid-y part of the sauce at the bottom of the bowl.)

(You may find you have some spinach left over at this point. - I had about 1/2 cup left over - Put it in the fridge and save it for another meal.)

Spread the reserved sauce over the top tortilla, to help keep it moist.

Cover the casserole with a generous layer of grated mozzarella.

Brush a couple of tortillas with olive oil, coating them on both sides.  Lightly sprinkle one side of each oiled tortilla with salt and a little chili powder.

Cut the tortillas in half, layer the halves, and cut them into thin strips.  Cut the strips crosswise into shorter pieces.

Cover the cheese in the casserole with a layer of tortilla strips.  Don't be too tidy.  Just scatter them randomly.

Bake your tacsagna at 350F for about an hour, until it's heated all the way through and the sauce is bubbly.  The tortilla strips on top will be crispy and golden brown.

Allow it to cool just a few minutes before portioning it into wedges.  It'll come out of the dish more easily if you do.  

Look at all those beautiful layers of flavour!

Leftover tacsagna can be frozen in individual portions.  Reheat it from frozen in the oven or microwave.  If reheating it in the microwave, you may want to pop it under the broiler for just a few minutes right at the end, to re-crisp the tortilla topping.