Monday, January 9, 2017

Mondays are for Lasagna

Life is Good: dinner was great

Oh, man. Mondays are rough! Luckily, I had a lasagna in the freezer that I popped out to thaw this morning. I feel like end of days go best for us when I have prepped dinner at breakfasttime. I'm no morning person. Let me say that again. I. am. no. morning. person. However, that extra few minutes that I get up to prep dinner is always worth it. 

I got my beloved lasagna recipe from the dearly, departed Gourmet Magazine. I still have a couple of years of them in my kitchen cabinet. Oh, that was a great mag! Anyhoo... here's the recipe, adjusted because of our allergies to egg (you'll never miss it!).

And yes, our two-year old ate as much lasagna as his daddy did! If that isn't a great review, then what is?!

Gourmet Magazine's Sausage, Basil, and Cheese Lasagna
Sauce Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound ground pork (plain if you don't like spice or Italian spicy if you do)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper (I leave this out when cooking for others because Minnesotans don't usually like spicy flavors.)
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes with added puree
  • 1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes with green pepper and onion (do not drain) (or plain diced tomatoes)
Filling Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups (packed) fresh basil leaves
  • 1 15-ounce container plus 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups (packed) grated mozzarella cheese (about 6 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 ounces)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Assembly Ingredients:
  • 12 no-boil lasagna noodles from one 8-ounce package
  • 3 cups (packed) grated mozzarella cheese (about 12 ounces)
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)
  • Nonstick olive oil spray
Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add sausages, onion, garlic, oregano and crushed red pepper and sauté until sausage is cooked through, mashing sausage into small pieces with back of fork, about 10 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes with juices. Bring sauce to boil. 

Reduce heat to medium and simmer 5 minutes to blend flavors. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill until cold, then cover and keep chilled.) 

Using on/off turns, chop fresh basil leaves finely in processor. Add ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, egg (we leave it out), 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Using on/off turns, process filling until just blended and texture is still chunky. 

Preheat oven to 375°F. Spread 1 1/4 cups sauce in 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Arrange 3 noodles on sauce. Drop 1 1/2 cups filling over noodles, then spread evenly to cover. Sprinkle with 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layering of sauce, noodles, filling and cheeses 2 more times. Top with remaining 3 noodles. Spoon remaining sauce atop noodles. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses. Spray large piece of foil with nonstick olive oil spray. Cover lasagna with foil, sprayed side down. 

Bake lasagna 40 minutes. Carefully uncover. Increase oven temperature to 400°F. Bake until noodles are tender, sauce bubbles thickly and edges of lasagna are golden and puffed, about 20 minutes. 

Transfer to work surface; let stand 15 minutes before serving to ensure your pieces cut neatly.

NOTE: Grant and our kiddos like a lot of sauce, so I usually double the sauce and add some extra on their plates. Any that is left over from that makes a great spaghetti sauce.

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