Italian Sausage Lasagne
So, admittedly, I don't know how much, exactly, this Lasagne has to do with the original from Napoli. Somehow, I have a feeling that the combination of ingredients and flavors is much more American in nature than anything else and thus, would think that this Lasagne is much more in line with an Italian-American interpretation of an old classic than with the time-honored traditional approach.
There are no real surprises here when it comes to what goes into the lasagne – the ingredients are basically what you could, potentially, expect them to be for a meat Lasagne - if you are not a stickler for tradition, that is.
Perhaps what is more surprising than what is actually used in this recipe is what is not used. Thus, there are some omissions that you would expect if you stuck to the traditional approach. There is no 3-hour ragú that utilizes flavorful Pancetta. There is no bechamel sauce. There is no Parmigiano-Reggiano. There isn't even basil.
However, overall, the outcome of this recipe is more than just satisfactory. In fact, it's finger-licking - ask for seconds - good! So good that even your most dedicated “I only eat beige food” kid will like it.
It is also a refreshing departure from the tried and true. This, then, is the perfect dish to satisfy a picky eater. Never mind that it is quick and easy to make and won't transform your kitchen into a battlefield...
2 Tbs. Olive Oil
½ lb. Hot Italian Sausage – if you purchase sausage links, make sure you remove the casings.
½ lb. Ground Chuck
1 large Onion, chopped
1 28-oz can or 2 14 oz. cans diced Tomatoes
2 Tbs. Tomato Paste
1 ¼ tsp. Salt
8 - 12 Lasagna noodles (depending on whether you like the Lasagna to have a lot or a little bit of pasta).
15 oz. Whole-Milk Ricotta
½ cup Italian Parsley, chopped.
½ lb. Mozzarella, grated.
Let's get started:
Heat a large pot over medium heat.
Add the olive oil
Add the chopped onions and sauté for about 4 minutes.
Add the hot Italian sausage.
Add the ground chuck.
Break up the sausage and chuck with a wooden spoon as you brown the meat for about 8 minutes.
When the meat is slightly browned, add the chopped tomatoes. Stir.
Add the tomato paste.
Add 1 tsp. of salt. Stir.
Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot with a lid.
Let simmer for 30 minutes, stirring ocassionally.
While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta noodles according to directions in a large pot. Omit the salt, though, and simply use plain water.
While the pasta is cooking, fill a large bowl with cold water and set aside.
When the pasta is al dente, remove it from the pot and place it in the large bowl with cold water.
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a medium bowl, stir the ricotta, egg, chopped parsley, ¼ tsp. of salt, and a pinch of pepper (to taste) until well combined. Set aside.
By now, your sauce should have cooked for about 30 minutes.
Drain the noodles and put a first layer onto the bottom of a 9x12 (or similar) baking dish.
If you like you Lasagna to have a lot of pasta, you probably made 12 Lasagna noodles. Thus, place six of them on the bottom. If you only made 8, put four of them on the bottom of the baking dish.
Spread all of the ricotta mixture on top of the pasta layer. Make sure you spread it evenly and into the corners.
Sprinkle about ¼ lb. of the grated mozzarella cheese on top (that's about ½ of your total cheese).
On top of the mozzarella, spread about ½ of your meat sauce.
Cover with the remaining pasta noodles.
Top those noodles with the remaining meat sauce.
Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella on top of that.
Cover the lasagna with aluminum foil or an appropriate cover – if your baking dish is so equipped.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Remove the foil/lid.
Bake for another 15 minutes until the cheese is starting to brown.
Remove from oven and let rest for at least 5 minutes.