Main Dish | March 30, 2009

Sweet Sausage Lasagne

Sweet Sausage Lasagne

When I graduated from high school back in  1980- and left for college at the age of 17, I cooked.

One thing.
Lasagne.

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.

Setting: the late 60’s- Bremerton(my hometown) was just across the water from Seattle. A ferry ride to Seattle almost always included a trip to the Seattle Center. Before malls had food courts, we had the Seattle Center International Food Fair aka- the “Food Circus”. The Seattle Center was home to the World’s Fair in 1962 . There were rides outside and a HUGE (well it seemed huge to me) building that housed food booths from “all over the world”.  My favorite was the lasagne shop. I LOVED lasagne. My love for lasagna was satisfied every few months by either going to the Seattle Center, attending a potluck at my little brother’s sports banquets (where there were sure to be several pans of my favorite creation), or getting out the BH&G red checked cookbook and making some at home.
Over the years, I’ve tried lots of different lasagne recipes: spinach (chopped frozen and fresh) , beef, four cheese, vegetarian, with ricotta, with cottage cheese, with only fresh mozzarella, the list goes on.  I loved the Italian sausage in this recipe and the spice it gives to the sauce. I also love the pasta in this recipe. I tried using the “no boil” pasta years ago,(didn’t like it) but I think it was different then, thicker? Now, the noodles are really thin. Cook’s did a story about using “no boil” pastas, and declared their love for it because it’s so thin, it tastes more like fresh pasta. I think you’re gonna love this.

Sweet Sausage Lasagne

Ingredients

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

Instructions

For the meat sauce:

  1. 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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

Recipe Notes

- Lasagna is the singular - as in one lasagna noodle, lasagne is plural - did you know that? I didn't.

5 thoughts on “Sweet Sausage Lasagne

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  1. Becky, I’ll have to look next time I’m at Dick’s to see the brand name. it’s sold in their meat section, far left, down by the pork. It’s the ground type, not in a casing. I believe it’s a local company.

  2. Okay Si, So I was on a blog stroll the other day. I liked your site. So, I followed. It was not until today that I realized that “Si” is the Si “F” from the ward I grew up in! How fun is that… You along with a couple of others gave me a cookbook {A Pinch of Salt Lake} when I married my main man. Still using it! I love your site and plan to mix up the “RitterB’s” meal plan!

  3. Hi

    I was watching Sopranos Season 4, and someone mentioned Tony's wife Carmella's lasagne with basil and sweet sausage. Did a google search, and voila, arrived here. Gonna try out your recipe, nice one!

    Brian