Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Spinach & Italian Sausage Lasagna

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When it comes to pasta dishes, my favorite would have to be lasagnas. There's something about layers of pasta sheets with cheese, veggies and some kind of meat sandwiched in that is completely comforting to me. I remember making my first lasagna was such a big production... but after awhile, you learn some great tips & tricks and it just gets better and better.

I've got a handful of lasagna recipes here on my blog, but this one is pretty straight forward. No fancy bechamel sauce or unique ingredients. This lasagna is nothing but pasta, homemade marinara sauce, cheese, spinach and italian sausage. Classic flavors are always comforting to me. As forlasagna tips & tricks I've used:
- No need to boil your pasta sheets first, as long as you have enough sauce for the pasta to absorb while baking.
- Make a large batch of homemade sauce in advance and freeze in portions, enough for any pasta dish, including lasagna (or use jarred if you prefer).
- Versatility makes for creative lasagnas... Think of it as a layered casserole where anything goes!
- If you don't have ricotta, try using a bechamel sauce (flour, butter, & milk) to add some creamy richness in between your layers.

Spinach & Italian Sausage Lasagna
original Joelen recipe

Lasagna pasta sheets (dry or no-boil)
5 cups homemade or jarred marinara sauce
3 cups italian blend or shredded mozzarella cheese
1 (10 oz) package frozen spinach, thawed
1 lb bulk italian sausage, crumbled and browned
1 tub (16 oz) ricotta cheese (any variety)
2 eggs
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare your ricotta cheese filling by combining the ricotta cheese, eggs, parmesan cheese, salt & pepper in a bowl; set aside

To begin assembling, spread a couple spoonfuls of sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.

Place a layer of dry, uncooked lasagna sheets over the sauce to cover the bottom of the 9x13 baking dish.

Spread 1/4 of the ricotta cheese mixture over the dry pasta sheets.

Crumble 1/4 of the spinach over the ricotta cheese mixture.

Crumble 1/4 of the cooked italian sausage over the spinach mixture.

Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the shredded italian cheese blend/mozzarella cheese over the sausage mixture.

Spread 1 cup of the pasta sauce over the italian cheese mixture.

Place a layer of the dry, uncooked lasagna sheets over the sauce and repeat the same steps until you end with the remaining sauce over the top.

Top with one more layer of dry, uncooked lasagna sheets and spread the remaining sauce over the pasta. Sprinkle the last cup of cheese over the top of the lasagna and bake uncovered in the preheated over for 45 minutes to one hour.

I find the flavor of the lasagna is better the follow day when everything gets a chance to really meld.

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