Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lasagna with Sweet Italian Sausage

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Family Style by Ina Garten
Serves  8
Hot out of the oven
2 Tbl extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, peeled & chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 # sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 6-oz can tomato paste
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes, in tomato puree
2 Tbl plus 2 Tbl chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided
1/2 cup chopped basil leaves
1/2 # lasagna noodles
15 oz whole-milk ricotta cheese
4 oz creamy goat cheese, crumbled
1 cup plus 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 # fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 400ᵒF. 
Heat your largest sauté pan over high heat, for about 2 minutes.  Add the olive oil to the pan, then reduce the heat to medium-low and add the chopped onions.  Season with a good pinch of salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender and just turning translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute, stirring frequently.  Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up with the back of a fork or a potato masher, until the sausage is no longer pink, about 8-10 minutes.  Add the tomato paste and stir to combine.  Add the crushed tomatoes and stir to combine.  Season with another good pinch of salt and pepper.  Simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes, until just thickened.  Then add 2 Tbl parsley and the basil and stir to combine. 
Tomato Sauce with Italian Sausage
While the sauce is simmering, fill a large mixing bowl with boiling water.  Add the noodles (one at a time, or they’ll all stick together) and let them soak in the water for 20 minutes, then drain.
Lasagna Noodles
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, stir to combine the ricotta, goat cheese, 1 cup of grated Parmesan, the egg, and the remaining 2 Tbl parsley, along with a good pinch of salt and pepper.  Set aside.
Spoon one third of the tomato sauce into a 9x13-inch baking dish.  Spread the sauce evenly over the bottom of the dish.  Then add the following layers: half of the pasta, half of the sliced mozzarella, half of the ricotta mixture, one third of the sauce, the rest of the pasta, the rest of the mozzarella, the rest of the ricotta, and finally, the rest of the sauce.  Sprinkle the top evenly with the remaining 1/4 cup grated parmesan. 
Layers of Goodness
Bake for 30 minutes, uncovered, until the sauce is bubbling and the top is golden brown.  If you’d like to make this ahead, the assembled, unbaked lasagna can be refrigerated and covered with plastic wrap, then baked for 30-40 minutes until bubbling.