My very first lasagna was made from the recipe on the noodle box. I remember the day when I grabbed a box from the grocery store shelf and actually gasped when I found that the recipe wasn't on the box!
A few years ago, a friend made a lasagna with a homemade sauce (made from tomato soup) and cottage cheese and ricotta. It was delish and is the recipe I've made religiously since then. I'll share it sometime.
But, I love to cook and especially love to cook pasta dishes. It seems pretty lame that I don't have my own lasagna recipe. And, that's how I came to this particular choice.
"Lasagna with Turkey Sausage"
in Barefoot Contessa Family Style
by Ina Garten
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 C chopped yellow onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 lb sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes in tomato puree
1 6-oz can tomato paste
4 tsp dried flat-leaf parsley, divided
4 tsp dried basil leaves
1/2 lb lasagna noodles
15 oz ricotta cheese
3 to 4 oz creamy goat cheese, crumbled
1 C grated Parmesan, plus 1/4 C for sprinkling
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 lb fresh mozzarella, shredded
Preheat the over to 400 F.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute. Add the sausage and cook over medium-low heat, breaking it up with a fork, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until no longer pink.
Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 Tbsp of parsley, the basil, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat, for 15 to 20 minutes or until thickened.
Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with the hottest tap water. Add the noodles and allow them to sit in the water for 20 minutes. Drain. Note. I used whole wheat noodles and actually soaked them for more like 40 minutes, replacing the water with fresh hot water about half-way through. It worked great!
In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, goat cheese, 1 C Parmesan, egg, 2 tsp parsley, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Set aside.
Ladle 1/3 of the sauce into a 9 x 12 x 2-inch rectangular baking dish, spreading the sauce over the bottom of the dish. Then add the layers as follows: half the pasta, half the mozzarella, half the ricotta, and one third of the sauce. Add the rest of the pasta, mozzarella, ricotta, and finally, sauce. Sprinkle with 1/4 C of Parmesan cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling.
To make ahead, refrigerate the assembled, unbaked lasagna, Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until bubbly.
I was a little nervous about not cooking the noodles, but that part turned out really well.
I was also a little nervous about the amount of noodles. I'm used to lots of layers of noodles, and this recipe only has two layers. That worked out okay, too.
I didn't listen to Ina and used spicy sausage instead of sweet. The sausage part was okay but not great. Maybe I need to try it with a different brand of sausage. I used Jennie-O turkey sausage (all my grocery store had). I also think I could leave the sausage out.
I was surprised by how solid the lasagna was. When I scooped it out it actually stayed as a real piece (instead of falling apart in a soupy mess like my "normal" recipe). The cheese formed a really nice layer; I think that was due to the egg and the goat cheese. The sauce mixture wasn't the perfect consistency.
I don't think this will replace the lasagna recipe I normally make, but I think we will switch it up with this recipe every now and then. I'll use a different kind of sausage, though.