Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sausage & Mushroom Lasagna

The slight heat wave we've had the past couple days finally shifted and we welcomed the cooler temperatures. It got cool enough that we started to crave some comfort food. One such comfort food is lasagna. This Sausage and Mushroom Lasagna was worth the time to make and is even better when made ahead of time...

This lasagna recipe had quite a bit of rave results from the AllRecipes website. After making it, I definitely concur - it's an amazing recipe and can be adapted easily to incorporate other ingredients. I used the base recipe and added some portobello mushrooms. If you're not a mushroom fan, simply omit it - it's still a solid recipe nonetheless. I did tweak it slightly by changing a handful of ingredients as well as the process. With a baby to care for, I shortened the time to make this and highly recommend making it in advance. Doing so not only saves time but allows the flavors to meld and the noodles to absorb all the goodness of the homemade sauce.

Sausage & Mushroom Lasagna
recipe adapted from AllRecipes

1 pound sweet Italian sausage
1 pound lean ground beef
3-4 large portobello mushrooms, diced
1 large onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (15 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
2 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley + more for garnish
12 lasagna noodles
16 ounces ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Fill a large pot with hot tap water. Place dry lasagna noodles in the water and soak for 20-30 minutes. While noodles are soaking, prepare the meat sauce.  

To prepare the meat sauce, in a Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground beef, mushrooms, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Remove, from heat, stir and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. 
To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese. Chill the lasagna for at least 3 hours or overnight for better flavor.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Bake chilled lasagna in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25-30minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with chopped parsley if desired.