A Taste of Home: Lasagna

-Whitney Barton

Lasagna is one of my all-time favorite comfort foods.  That said, it can be a letdown if not prepared with enough flavor, herbs, and spices. After experimenting with several recipes, my favorite is this one because it provides a good base of ingredients to build off of. The recipe calls for turkey sausage, but I use two kinds of my favorite pork sausage instead.  Don’t be intimidated by the length (and price) of the ingredient list; you will have left overs for days. I pair this classic cheesy dish with a light green salad tossed with homemade Dijon vinaigrette. The pairing of rich and fresh creates a great flavor profile for a special occasion, or just to help get you through week seven.

{Please note, the ingredients and portions below are slightly altered from the original recipe, but the steps are the same}

What you’ll need:

  • ½ lb. lasagna noodles
  • ½ lb. spicy Italian sausage
  • ½ lb. mild Italian sausage
  • ½ lb. sweet Italian sausage
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes in tomato purée
  • 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 large chopped yellow onion
  • 3-4 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil
  • 20 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 5-6 oz. creamy goat cheese
  • 1 extra large egg
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1.5 lbs. shredded mozzarella
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a large (10 to 12-inch) skillet. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 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 tablespoons of the parsley, the basil, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat, for 15 to 20 minutes, 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.

In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, goat cheese, 1 cup of Parmesan, the egg, the remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.

Ladle 1/3 of the sauce into a 9 by 12 by 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 1/3 of the sauce.

Add the rest of the pasta, mozzarella, ricotta, and finally, sauce. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of Parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling.

Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3-4 tablespoons champagne vinegar (white wine, or basically any other vinegar will work too)
  • ¼ tsp. dried basil (I do more like ½ a teaspoon, I love basil.)
  • ½ tsp. Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • Salad greens I like baby romaine or arugula

Whisk together mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly add olive oil while whisking, until emulsified (or completely combined). Since vinegar and oil don’t naturally bind, adding the olive oil slowly will help ensure the dressing won’t separate before it’s poured it over the greens. Toss vinaigrette with greens, unless making a lot of salad you will not need the whole batch of dressing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *