From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...The birds returned to our hillside this morning and that's a sure sign that winter's nearly done with us. I listened to their song with a bit of melancholy because this is our last season in this house. We sold our home yesterday and made an offer on another that we hope will bring us as much enjoyment as we have known here. It has been a crazy couple of weeks that started with eye surgery and ended with prospective buyers traipsing through the house on days that would make even an ice queen blanch. It was quick process, but as anyone who has sold a home can tell you, it was not easy. One of the things that I have missed was being able to cook with aromatics, especially onions and garlic. Both were pushed to the side in an attempt to keep the kitchen from smelling like a pizza parlor while the house was being shown. Tonight I extracted my revenge and cooked both with abandon using Ina Garten's wonderful recipe for sausage lasagna. This is one of those recipes that belongs in everyone's rotation. The sausage and goat cheese take this pasta favorite to a whole nother level and I know that your family will enjoy it. The recipe is self-explanatory, and like all of Ina's recipes, it works. This one has the added advantage of being easy to make. Do try it! Here is how her lasagna is made.
Sausage Lasagna...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Ina Garten
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
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 cheese, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
1 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2) Heat olive oil in a large (10- to 12-inch) skillet. Add onions and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat, until translucent. Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add sausage and cook over medium-low heat, breaking it up with a fork, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until no longer pink. Add 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.
3) Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with hottest tap water. Add noodles and allow them to sit in the water for 20 minutes. Drain.
4) In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, goat cheese, 1 cup of Parmesan, egg, remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.
5) Ladle 1/3 of the sauce into a 9 x 12 x 2-inch rectangular baking dish, spreading sauce over bottom of dish. Then add layers as follows: half of pasta, half of mozzarella, half of ricotta, and one third of sauce. Add rest of pasta, mozzarella, ricotta, and finally, sauce. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling.Yield: 8 servings.
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