It was42 degrees the other afternoon when I was driving home and the rain hitting the windshield was suspiciously thick – and white. Snowflakes people. There was only one thing to do, pull the blinds and make a large pan of lasagne. This isn’t some chi-chi imposter, it’s hardcore with italian sausage and lots of cheese, perfect for a cold day. It’s a little saucy when it first comes out of the oven, but that’s what makes it great for leftovers. Since I hate biting into a solid layer of dry ricotta in lasagne I’ve taken precautions.
Weeknight Lasagne Recipe (10 large servings)
1 8 oz. box lasagne noodles (good ones)
1/2 lb. sweet italian sausage
1/2 lb. ground round (ground veal would be awesome too)
1 8 0z. container low-fat ricotta, ’cause it’s healthy (If you’re a faithful blog reader and you’re using homemade ricotta omit the cottage cheese and just use one pound of homemade ricotta. You’re entitled to feel smug at this point because you totally rock.)
1 8 0z. container low-fat cottage cheese
12 oz. mozzarella cheese (shredded or sliced)
1 24 oz. jar good marinara sauce
1 24 oz. can tomato sauce
1 8 0z. package fresh portobello mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
Preheat the oven to 375 and put a large pot of salted water on to boil. Add the noodles once the water starts a rolling boil.
While the noodles are boiling heat a heavy pan and add the meats. Cook them together until they are no longer pink.
At this point I like to add some shredded raw carrot to sneak in some more vegetables, plus it balances out the acidity of the tomatoes. Add the mushrooms too.
Once they have all gotten to know each other, and the mushrooms start to darken, add the sauces. If it was a weekend I would make my own sauce, but when I’m in a hurry I turn to the bottle – ahem.
Let the sauce simmer while you drain the noodles. Lightly grease a medium roasting pan and assemble your ingredients. Mix the ricotta and cottage cheese thoroughly and prepare to layer. Scoop out 2 c. of sauce and pour it in the bottom of the pan. Then add 1/2 of the cooked noodles.
On top of that add 1/2 the ricotta and sprinkle it with some garlic powder and fresh cracked pepper.
Then top it with 1/2 of your mozzarella.
Then, a few more cups of sauce to cover.
Repeat for the second layer. Bake for 45 minutes, or until bubbling.
Cut into squares and serve.
If you’ve got room in the oven throw in a little quick garlic toast like I did!