Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sausage, Cheese and Basil Lasagna

I have been trying different lasagna recipes. Some are hard to make, some are not as tasty as they sound, but some come out just great if you make some changes. This one is one of those recipes. It's from Bon Appetit and readers from Epicurious had some comments which I followed. It ends up being one of the tastiest lasagnas possible:)

Here are the tips: Double the sauce using 1,5 lbs of sausages. Even if you can't use all of it, you end up with a great pasta sauce that you can use later. But don't go crazy using too much sauce, otherwise the lasagna will be soggy. I ended up using 2/3 of the sauce after doubling the amounts. If you feel like it use some red wine while cooking the sauce. I did use some and it made the sauce zestier.

Make the sauce one day ahead and refrigerate, it tastes much better. Plus it gives you time to rest in between:)

If you don't love love love basil, the amount could be too much, instead use 2/3 of the amount listed.

Use a bigger baking dish, the amounts in this recipe will overflow the dish measurements given. You can also divide it to 2 8X8" dishes, freeze one and cook the other one. The cooking time doesn't change. Put a drip pan under the dish to catch overflow.

SAUSAGE, CHEESE AND BASIL LASAGNA

Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound spicy or mild Italian sausages, casings removed
1 cup chopped onion
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
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)

Directions:
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.)

Filling:
1 1/2 cups (packed) fresh basil leaves
1 15-ounce container plus 1 cup ricotta cheese (about 3 cups)
1 1/2 cups (packed) grated mozzarella cheese (about 6 ounces)
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 ounces)
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

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

Assembly:
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)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375°F. Spread 1 1/4 cups sauce in 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish after spraying the dish with nonstick olive oil spray. 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.

6 to 8 servings

1 comment:

s.j.simon said...

:) did you know how cheese was invented? It wasnt necessity, it was an accident, read this

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