March 28, 2010

Italian Sausage Lasagna With Spinach

A Favorite Lasagna Recipe From Restaurant
Preparation time: 45 minutes for cooking the sauce and pasta. Baking time is 65 minutes with a standing time of 10 minutes. Serves 8.

Ingredients for Italian Sausage Lasagna:
1 pound of Italian bulk sausage (or substitute Polish sausage, breakfast pork sausage or ground chuck)
Lasagna sauce (recipe below)
One 15-16 ounce container of ricotta cheese
One 10 ounce package of frozen spinach, thawed and the moisture squeezed out (take it out of the freezer and put it in the refrigerator the night before)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (use your Microplane grater)
3 eggs
8 ounces of lasagna noodles,cooked and draine 2 cups of shredded Mozzarella cheese

Ingredients for Lasagna Sauce:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup minced celery
1/3 cup minced onions
2 minced garlic cloves
1 (14 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (10-14 ounce) can of tomato soup
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon Kosher salt (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or a pinch more)
1 Bay leaf

Instructions for Italian Sausage Lasagna and Sauce:
In a heavy saute pan, brown the meat over medium heat
While the meat is browning, heat 5 quarts of water in an 8 quart pot with 1-2 tablespoons of salt and 1 tablespoon of olive oil Remove the meat from the pan and drain
When the water is boiling, add the lasagna noodles one at a time and cook according to package directions
Heat olive oil over medium-low heat in the same pan as the meat was cooked in, add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic
Saute until the vegetables are soft
Add the remaining ingredients and heat to boiling over medium heat
Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally Remove and discard Bay leaf
Before adding the meat to the sauce, spread a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a 9 X 13 inch lasagna pan (baking pan)
Combine the meat with the remaining sauce

In a large mixing bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, spinach, Parmesan cheese and eggs until well blended
In the lasagna pan, layer half of the noodles, half of the meat mixture and half of the spinach mixture over the thin layer of sauce, then repeat the process
Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours if desired
Bake the lasagna, uncovered, in a pre-heated 350 degree F oven for 50-55 minutes or until heated through
Sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese and bake 5-7 minutes longer or until the cheese melts
Let stand for 10 minutes before serving

Serve the Lasagna with a side dish of freshly grated Parmesan cheese for the perfect added touch.

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