Growing up in an Italian family, I have fond memories of sauce simmering on the stove for hours and those special occasions where we would make lasagna or manicotti. It was usually all day affair between the sauce and the homemade meatballs. I made homemade sauce recently and had a pretty hefty amount leftover, so decided this was as good as any time to use it for lasagna. As an adult, I’m no longer interested in spending the time to make handmade lasagna by myself, and since I was making this during the school day, none of my kids were around to help, so I decided that I would use ground sausage. I also decided that I was going to use spinach in half of it, since my husband and I enjoy it but it isn’t a favorite of my kids.
1 pound ground sausage
1 package lasagna noodles (I used Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Whole Grain Lasagna Noodles) – I used 12 noodles
4 cups sauce
1 15 ounce container of ricotta cheese
2 cups mozzarella
8 ounces cut leaf spinach
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1-2 tablespoons parsley
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Brown off ground sausage in medium size pan, breaking up meat with spoon as it cooks
3. Set browned sausage aside to rest and drain fat on a plate layered with a paper towel
4. Using the same pan, saute spinach with minced garlic. Add a little bit of olive oil to the pan if necessary
5. Meanwhile, in medium bowl mix ricotta, 1 cup mozzarella, 2 egss, 1/2 cup parmesan, parsley and salt and pepper to taste
Note: Check the label on the lasagna box to determine whether the noodles are oven ready. You may have to pre-cook the noodles before assembling.
6. Assemble the lasagna by layering 1 cup sauce, 1/3 cheese, 1/3 sausage, 1/3 spinach (I added the spinach on only 1/2 the lasagna). Repeat until all cheese, sausage and spinach have been added.
7. Layer last 3 lasagna noodles with 1 cup sauce and 1 cup mozzarella
8. Bake covered at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, then remove cover and bake for additional 10 minutes
9. Let rest for about 10 minutes before serving
As expected, the results were great. This happens when you start with good ingredients. It looked so good that my neighbor opted to take a piece of the fresh baked lasagna, rather than the pulled pork or chicken pasole soup leftovers she thought she came over for.
Lasagna is another dish that can easily be modified.
- Inspired by Giada De Laurentiis, you could roll the filling in the individual noodles after cooking them and get individual lasagna rolls, for easy serving and presentation.
- You could add more vegetables like zucchini, squash, eggplant for a primavera lasagna
- You could add pepperoni, meatballs, ground meat, chicken or any other meat that interests you