Delicious Three-Cheese Lasagna with Italian Sausage

lasagnaIt's the day after Christmas and your relatives are still in your house and guess what, they're hungry. What to do? You could always make some turkey sandwiches or order some pizza, but come on, don't you wanna impress everybody with an out-of-this-world homemade lasagna? Thought so!

Everyone's stomachs are perfectly stretched to take down plates and plates of gooey, warm, cheesy, and sausagey goodness. So break out that new apron Santa brought you and get busy.

 

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Three-Cheese Lasagna with Italian Sausage

Serves 8.

Ingredients for sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped peeled carrots
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 8 ounces lean ground beef
  • 6 ounces spicy Italian sausages, casings removed
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes with added puree
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon golden brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

Ingredients for lasagna:

  • 15 lasagna noodles (about 12 ounces)
  • 2 15-ounce containers part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, squeezed dry
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 3/4 cups grated mozzarella cheese (about 1 1/4 pounds)

Directions for sauce:

Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, carrots and garlic; sauté until softened, about 12 minutes. Add beef and sausages to pan; sauté until cooked through, breaking up meat with back of spoon, about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer until flavors blend and sauce measures about 5 cups, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Cool.

Directions for lasagna:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook noodles in large pot of boiling salted water until almost tender, about 7 minutes. Drain; cover with cold water.

Combine ricotta and 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese in medium bowl. Mix in spinach. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in eggs.

Drain pasta and pat dry. Spread 1/2 cup sauce over bottom of 13x9-inch glass baking dish. Place 5 noodles over sauce, overlapping to fit. Spread half of ricotta-spinach mixture evenly over noodles. Sprinkle 2 cups mozzarella cheese evenly over ricotta-spinach mixture. Spoon 1 1/2 cups sauce over cheese, spreading with spatula to cover (sauce will be thick). Repeat layering with 5 noodles, remaining ricotta-spinach mixture, 2 cups mozzarella and 1 1/2 cups sauce. Arrange remaining 5 noodles over sauce. Spread remaining sauce over noodles. Sprinkle remaining 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese evenly over lasagna. (Can be prepared up to 1 day ahead. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate.) Cover baking dish with aluminum foil. Bake lasagna 40 minutes; uncover and bake until hot and bubbly, about 40 minutes. Let lasagna stand 15 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

Photo via jeffreyw/Flickr
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