Trouble With Toast

Recipe: Three-Cheese Lasagna with Italian Sausage | October 14, 2008

When I get a hankering for lasagna, I usually do one of two things: 1) go to an Italian restaurant, or 2) pick up a box of Stouffer’s.  Last week, however, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and do the whole lasagna shebang (minus the noodles and the cheese–because seriously, I don’t have time for that shit) from scratch.  The ultimate question: will the payoff at the end justify the significant amount of extra work?

This recipe is from Bon Appetit magazine.  The sauce made my kitchen smell divine while it was simmering, and the dish was pretty simple to assemble once all of the components were mixed.  A nice bonus is that it can all be put together a day in advance and then just covered and refrigerated until ready for the oven.

But, doggone it, I just didn’t think it was THAT much better than Stouffer’s.  I know.  Shameful.  The men in dark suits will be along any minute to confiscate my foodie card, I’m sure.

Seriously, it was tasty and filling, and it was actually better leftover (as many tomato-based pastas are, in my opinion).  But yeah, for the 2-3 hours it took (and that doesn’t include the 1.5 hours of cooking time), I’m just not sure it was worth it.  For this busy girl, the frozen foods section will still come through in the clutch for lasagna cravings.

Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 cup chopped onion
    3/4 cup finely chopped peeled carrots
    2 tablespoons minced garlic
    8 ounces lean ground beef
    6 ounces spicy Italian sausages, casings removed
    1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes with added puree
    1/4 cup tomato paste
    1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
    1 tablespoon golden brown sugar
    1 tablespoon dried oregano
    1 bay leaf
    1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

Lasagna:

  • 15 lasagna noodles
  • 2 15-ounce containers part-skim ricotta cheese
    1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained,
    squeezed dry
    2 large eggs
  • 4 3/4 cups grated mozzarella cheese

Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, carrots and garlic; sauté until softened, about 12 minutes. Add beef and sausages to pan; sauté until cooked through, breaking up meat with back of spoon, about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer until flavors blend and sauce measures about 5 cups, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Cool.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook noodles in large pot of boiling salted water until almost tender, about 7 minutes. Drain; cover with cold water.

Combine ricotta and 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese in medium bowl. Mix in spinach. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in eggs.

Drain pasta and pat dry. Spread 1/2 cup sauce over bottom of 13×9-inch baking dish. Place 5 noodles over sauce, overlapping to fit. Spread half of ricotta-spinach mixture evenly over noodles. Sprinkle 2 cups mozzarella cheese evenly over ricotta-spinach mixture. Spoon 1 1/2 cups sauce over cheese, spreading with spatula to cover (sauce will be thick). Repeat layering with 5 noodles, remaining ricotta-spinach mixture, 2 cups mozzarella and 1 1/2 cups sauce. Arrange remaining 5 noodles over sauce. Spread remaining sauce over noodles. Sprinkle remaining 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese evenly over lasagna. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil. Bake lasagna 40 minutes; uncover and bake until hot and bubbly, about 40 minutes. Let lasagna stand 15 minutes before serving.

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Posted in Recipes
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6 Comments »

  1. This is keeping it real, lady. Sometimes it is just easier to buy it frozen. You get props from me of being honest.

    Still looks really good though…

    Comment by Lemmonex — October 14, 2008 @ 12:37 pm

  2. This goes against everything I stand for BUT Rachel Ray has a pretty good recipe for a lasagna made with almond pesto and mushrooms

    Comment by Chicken Fried Gourmet — October 15, 2008 @ 12:19 am

  3. Lem: I’m nothing if not honest. Even if it makes me kinda trashy. And it was good, just not good enough!

    CFG: Haha, I won’t judge you THIS time for referencing the Raytard. Actually, I’ve made a couple of her recipes that have turned out well. But almond pesto? Just not sure about that one.

    Comment by bettyjoan — October 15, 2008 @ 9:10 pm

  4. I’m with you Lem, Stouffers it is….I like the meat version the best!

    Betty, I have a skillet that is oven safe on my list 🙂

    Comment by Mom — October 15, 2008 @ 9:24 pm

  5.  
    Stuff the Stouffer’s. Can’t buy it here. So I’ll just have to make this shit from scratch and see how it tastes. Damn fine I’ll bet!

    Comment by Amateur Cook — July 17, 2011 @ 6:28 am


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