Lasagna

Who can resist a great lasagna recipe? B.etty Crock.er has gotten me through many a year with this standby lasagna recipe. I typcially make a few changes to the original recipe (like more cheese than they call for) but for the most part it is straight out of the cookbook. By they way, Italian sausage and ricotta cheese make a big difference in the overall taste of the dish so make sure you use those ingredients instead of a beef/pork sausage and cottage cheese substitute. Enjoy!

Italian Sausage Lasagna
Makes 8 servings

1 pound Italian sausage
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1 can (16 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
12 uncooked lasagna noodles (I usually boil a few extra in case of rips)
1 carton (16 ounces) ricotta cheese
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Cook sausage, onion and garlic in skillet, stirring occasionally, until sausage is brown; drain. Stir in 2 tablespoons parsley, the sugar, basil, tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered about 45 minutes or until slightly thickened. (I usually never let it simmer that long.)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cook noodles as directed on package; drain. Mix ricotta cheese, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, 1 tablespoon parsley and the oregano.

Lay four noodles on the bottom of an ungreased 9×13 baking dish. Spread with half of the meat sauce. Spread with half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Sprinkle about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of the mozzarella cheese over the top. Layer with four more noodles, the other half of the meat sauce, the other half of the ricotta cheese mixture, and another 1 to 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella cheese. Layer with the last four noodles, the remaining mozzarella cheese and the 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese.

Bake for about 30 minutes. Check and cover with foil if darkening too much. Bake for another 15 minutes. Let stand about 15 minutes before cutting.

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