Lasagna is one of those comfort foods that it’s impossible not to love. With layers and layers of pasta, sauce and cheese, how can you go wrong? To me, this is the perfect version of a classic lasagna and the one I’ve been making for about eight years now. It is slightly time consuming in that it takes about an hour to prep, but it is totally worth it because you end up with a wonderful hearty meal big enough to feed a crowd, or to feed a small family like ours for several days. I usually like to make this on a weekend when I know we have a very busy week ahead so we can warm up the leftovers as needed. The ingredients can of course be adapted to suit your own tastes. I have added mushrooms to the sauce in the past, and I think you could add some more fresh herbs with great results as well.
For anyone who thinks this looks familiar, that’s because this recipe was posted on the blog about two years ago. The picture was horrendous, the instructions were too brief and the content of the post did not do justice to what a great meal this is, so I decided to revamp it and give it the attention it deserves.
12 lasagna noodles
1 lb. Italian sausage
2/3 cup onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 cup minced flat-leaf parsley, divided
3 (6 oz.) cans tomato paste
15 oz. tomato sauce
2 cups water
1½ tsp. Italian seasoning
1½ tsp. basil
1½ tsp. oregano
15 oz. part-skim ricotta cheese
10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 large eggs
2 tsp. garlic salt
¼ tsp. pepper
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the lasagna noodles according to the package directions, until al dente. (I always add a couple extra noodles, just in case one breaks during cooking.) Drain and set aside. (I like to lay out the noodles so that they are flat and separated, to avoid them sticking to each other or curling up. It makes the assembly process easier.)
In the meantime, in a very large skillet or saucepan (12-14 inches), crumble the Italian sausage and cook over medium-high heat until it just begins to brown. Add the onion, garlic and 1/3 cup of the parsley to the pan and continue cooking until the sausage is completely browned and cooked through. Mix in the tomato paste, tomato sauce, water, Italian seasoning, basil and oregano. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes.
In a mixing bowl, combine the remaining parsley, ricotta, spinach, Parmesan, eggs, garlic salt, and pepper. Mix well until blended.
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Spread 2 cups of sauce in a thin layer on the bottom of a 9 x 13″ baking dish. Layer with 4 lasagna noodles. Top the noodles with half of the cheese-spinach mixture and spread evenly to a thin layer. Top with about a third of the remaining sauce mixture, and sprinkle with 1 cup of the shredded mozzarella. Layer again with 4 more noodles and the remaining cheese-spinach mixture. Spread half of the remaining sauce mixture over the top, and sprinkle with 1 cup of the shredded mozzarella. The final layer will be 4 noodles, the remaining sauce, and a layer of shredded mozzarella. Cover tightly with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and return to the oven for 10 minutes more. Allow to cool 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Source: adapted from Allrecipes