It is so cold and rainy and snowy and grey out. All I can think about is warm comforting meals. Soup, casseroles, cheesy pastas, etc. I just want to eat warm heavy things, so I made lasagna. I decided to put my pasta maker to work and I made noodles, using the same spinach pasta dough I made before. I rolled the noodles out to a 7 on the pasta machine, and then cut them into large strips by hand. The spinach in the pasta means I sneaked another serving of veggies into my meal, and I further healthied/lightened up this classic by using part-skim ricotta, low fat mozzarella, and chicken sausage. The lasagna can be made in advanced and frozen, or cooked as soon as it's assembled, it's equally delicious, and warming on these cold winter days.
12-15 Lasagna noodles, bought or homemade, cooked al dente
1 cup of 2% Mozzarella Cheese
1/4 cup of Parmesan Cheese
1 tbsp of olive oil
1/2 yellow onion
1 medium shallot
8 oz of chicken or pork sausage
3 cloves of garlic
1 29 oz can of tomato sauce
2 tbsp of tomato paste
2 tsp of dried oregano
1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes
1 handful of fresh basil, chopped
salt, pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Split open the sausage to remove the meat from the casing and add the meat to the pan to brown. Dice the onion, shallot and garlic and add to the pan. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until the onions soften, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and raise heat to bring to a simmer. Slowly stir in the the paste. Season with spices, and reduce heat to low. Cover, until needed.
2 1/2 cups of part skim ricotta
1 cup of Parmesan
1 tsp of salt
In a medium bowl mix together the ricotta, Parmesan and salt. Check flavor, and add more salt if necessary. Mix in egg.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large casserole dish, spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom, trying to get as little sausage as possible. Top the sauce with a layer of noodles. Top noodles with half of the ricotta mixture, and sprinkle 1/3 of a cup of mozzarella on top. Add half of the remaining sauce, then another layer of noodles, then the rest of the ricotta mixture, 1/3 cup of mozzarella, then the rest of the sauce. Add final layer of noodles and top that with remaining mozzarella and 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese. At this point, the lasagna can be frozen or refrigerated for later use. If cooking now, cover with tinfoil and cook for 30 minutes, then uncover and cook for an additional 30 minutes. If you like a crispy top (like me), turn the broiler on and carefully broil for 3-4 minutes until top is golden brown. Let cool slightly before slicing and serving.