Recipe. You Won't Want to Miss This!
This recipe for lasagna is a distant relative of one from epicurious that has evolved over so many years that I have forgotten what the original was. For the past two years it has made its appearance at Thanksgiving, because isn’t a gooey mass of cheesy pasta so much better than a turkey? And there’s a trick: no need to boil those slippery noodles beforehand.
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large Spanish onion
4-5 cloves garlic
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced (I like cremini)
1/4 cup pitted green olives
1 lb. hot Italian turkey sausage
1 28 oz. can Whole San Marzano tomatoes, broken up with a wooden spoon (include liquid)
1 small can tomato paste
Several dollops of pesto
About 1/2 cup red wine
Approximately 1 tsp. each dried basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste
For ricotta mixture:
1 pint ricotta
1 package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted (with water well drained in paper towels )
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (please don’t use the pre-grated kind!)
1 large egg, beaten
Salt & black pepper to taste
1 to 1 1/2 boxes dried lasagna noodles
1/2 lb. mozzarella (sliced thin)
1/2 lb. smoked mozzarella (sliced thin)
1/4 cup grated parmesan
Dice onion, mince garlic and anchovies and sauté in olive oil over moderate heat until the onions are translucent.
Add mushrooms and cook until liquid is released. Remove sausage from casings and add to pan, breaking it up with a wooden spoon into a crumbly mixture and cook until sausage is no longer pink.
Add tomatoes, tomato paste, pesto, olives, wine and spices. Bring to a boil and then simmer, uncovered, until sauce is thickened and darker, around 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the ricotta mixture:
Combine ricotta with drained spinach, grated Parmesan, and beaten egg. Mix until well combined and set aside. Season with salt and pepper.
Once sauce is finished, find your biggest lasagna pan! Spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom, then place (uncooked) lasagna noodles on top. Top that layer with more sauce, dollops of ricotta mixture, and slices of both types of mozzarella. Make sure all noodles are well covered with sauce (this is important!)
Repeat layers until you run out of ingredients, or space in the pan. (Sometimes I end up using about another half box of lasagna noodles.) Finish with a generous sprinkling of Parmesan. Cover the entire pan TIGHTLY with aluminum foil.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook covered lasagna for 50 minutes, then uncover and cook for another 15 minutes, or until cheese and sauce are bubbling and it is heated through.
** This makes a massive amount. I have fed 8 people with formidable appetites and still had leftovers. It reheats very well in the microwave. I figure it must have a gazillion calories per serving, but it’s worth it.
Vegetarians: It works well leaving out the anchovies and the sausage, and following the recipe as above.