Open-Faced Lasagna is the Elegant Holiday Appetizer You've Been Looking For

Sheets of pasta are topped with acorn squash, smoked cheese, and baked until golden

Open-Faced Lasagna with Acorn Squash and Smoked Caciocavallo

Open-Faced Lasagna with Acorn Squash and Smoked Caciocavallo
This layerless lasagna recipe from Philadelphia chef Marc Vetri uses an egg-rich dough, but store-bought fresh pasta sheets can be substituted.Andre Baranowski

Everyone loves lasagna, which makes it a safe bet for holiday cooking. But it's also a labor of love, the kind of dish that by its nature takes over your table. The solution to a lighter lasagna? This open-face style.

This one, which is reminiscent of a savory pastry, comes to us from Philadelphia chef Marc Vetri. The egg-rich pasta dough is easy to make on your own, but you can also use store-bought sheets of pasta to further simplify the process. A great option for appetizers for a crowd, open-faced lasagna is the fuss-free, bite-size cousin of traditional lasagna. Each pasta square is cooked quickly in boiling water before being drained and transferred to greased baking sheets, then topped with thinly-sliced acorn squash, smoked caciocavallo, parmesan, and thyme.

Baked until golden and melty, the result is a deconstructed lasagna without the heaviness of the traditional favorite. We highly recommend serving it alongside chilled, big batch cocktails as a lead-up to richer holidays meals. It's all about balance.

For more pre-meal ideas, check out our list of holiday party appetizers.