When I graduated from high school back in 1980- and left for college at the age of 17, I cooked.
It wasn’t because I liked to cook, it was out of necessity. I wanted it- and my mom didn’t know how to make it. My dad was a Navy man, and never liked to eat anything that even remotely resembled a casserole. He said he ate enough casserole dishes in his 20 years in the Navy to last a lifetime. So Mom never made casseroles. In our house, lasagne fell into that category.
Sweet Sausage Lasagne
For the sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
4 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound sweet Italian sausage
1/2 pound lean ground pork
1/3 cup water
2 (28-ounce) containers crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 medium dried bay leaves
For the lasagna:
1 (9-ounce) box no-boil lasagna noodles
24 ounces part skim ricotta cheese
1 pound part skim mozzarella cheese, low-moisture or fresh, thinly sliced
2 cups finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 2 ounces)
For the meat sauce: Heat oil in a Dutch oven or a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. When it shimmers, add onion and garlic, season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook until just softened. Add sausage and ground pork and stir to break up meat. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add water and cook, scraping bottom of pan to incorporate browned bits. Add tomatoes, 1 teaspoon salt, basil, oregano, bay leaf, and season well with freshly ground black pepper. Stir until well mixed and tomatoes start to simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until flavors meld, at least 10 minutes and up to 1 hour.
For the lasagna: Heat oven to 375 degrees F and arrange rack in middle.
Spread 2 cups sauce in a thin layer over the bottom of a 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Layer 4 noodles over sauce, top with 2 cups sauce and spread it evenly over the noodles. Evenly dollop 1/4 of the ricotta across the sauce, top with 1/4 of the mozzarella, and sprinkle evenly with 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Cover with foil and let sit on counter before baking for about 1/2 hour. Bake until liquids are bubbling and noodles are beginning to soften, about 40 minutes.
Remove foil and continue baking until top is golden brown and noodles are completely tender, about 20 minutes more. Allow to rest 20 minutes before cutting.
PS – Lasagna is the singular – as in one lasagna noodle, lasagne is plural – did you know that? I didn’t.