Thursday, June 05, 2008

Lasagna Lasagna- OR The Garfield Meal

So, after a good jog around Chrissy Field last Tuesday I was discussing with my guy what he wanted to eat for dinner. It was about 7:30pm, so the options were closing. I still had to run by the store before cooking and did not want something too labor intensive or that had a long cooking time. So, I offered up the options of fish and orzo, or perhaps some easy chicken or something. Something light and easy. But, I kept getting the lasagna request over and over again, so I conceded. We ran to Whole Foods to buy ingredients and I was off.
I love love love Ina Garten's Turkey Sausage Lasagna. It is just so good. I typically tweak around the ingredients, starting with cutting the amount of sausage down to 3/4 pounds from 1 1/2 pounds. And then when it comes to measuring herbs and cheese, well, I don't. The ricotta comes premeasured, as does the mozzarella, but I figure some extra basil, goat cheese, and parmesan never killed anyone. Well, perhaps over time, clogged arteries, heart attacks, but not in an evening.
So, I set about preparing the lasagna. I said that it would take awhile, but I don't think that J thought he wouldn't be eating until past 10! that said, I made a salad too. And the lasagna was so good, it was worth the wait.
The labor of this dish starts with creating the sauce. Yeah, so it takes a few minutes to dice some onions and chop garlic. But then somehow the time got away from me. Between soaking the noodles, cutting/grating cheese, etc, this dish is a long haul. Writing about it at the moment I realize that it does not sound like much maintenance, perhaps I need to improve my cooking skills so I have a shorter cooking time.
So, the finished product came out and both J and my roomie were hovering over the bubbling dish. I served us up and got raves all around. J and I ate it for lunch the next day and dinner, with another lunch the following day! And my roommate called me the next day and said, what did you put in that lasagna? It is SO good.
There is my recommendation. If you want drooling and happy guests, make this lasagna. Just start before 8:30 pm!

TURKEY SAUSAGE LASAGNA- remember to use half the sausage if you want it less meat heavy.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes in tomato puree
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound lasagna noodles
15 ounces ricotta cheese
3 to 4 ounces creamy goat cheese, crumbled
1 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
1 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

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 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, 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 third 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.


eviedee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
eviedee said...

Sounds tasty. Lasagna is definitely not the sort of thing that I would be brave enough to begin so late, not since "The Ravioli Incident". Dinner was not served until 12:30, who knew that handmade pasta could be so time consuming?

eviedee said...

Ah, the handmade pasta incident took place YEARS before I had discovered the world food blogs. And yet, I still reference it. Either that evening made a lasting impression or I have a flair for the melodramatic, YOU decide. ;)