Monday, July 29, 2013

Simple Lasagna


A pasta dish of tomato sauce, ricotta cheese, Italian sausage and mozzarella layered between strips of noodles.  Just in time for national lasagna day.

Lasagna is a great meal.  It requires a bit of time it the preparation but once you pop it in the oven you can sit back and relax for about and hour and, if you're like me, have dinner for a whole week.  I call this simple lasagna because I didn't do anything fancy with it.  I just used meat, cheese and tomato sauce and then baked it.  Lasagna is a very simple dish but is so full of flavor my husband and I were happy to eat on it all week.


1 box lasagna noodles, under cooked
1 package (8-12 oz) ricotta cheese
1 egg
1-2 jars tomato sauce
1 pack Italian sausage (at least 1 pound)
2-3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Crumble and cook the sausage until browned, then drain the grease and set aside.

Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling water until barely tender.  My package said 11 minutes I cooked for about 5.  Drain the noodles and rinse with cold water until cool enough to handle.

Mix one egg into the ricotta cheese until smooth, and open the tomato sauce (no need to heat the sauce).  I used an easy homemade tomato sauce with spinach, but any kind would be fine.  I also mixed the ricotta into my sauce just to cut out a step but you don't have to (instead of making a ricotta layer then a sauce layer I have one layer that includes both, you can also add the meat and have all in one).

Preheat oven to 350F.

Now you are ready to build your lasagna.  In a large baking dish (at least 9x13 inches) spread a thin layer of sauce along the bottom.

Then add a layer of noodles.  Spread 1/2 the meat on top of the noodles, then about 1/3 of the sauce mixture so that the noodles are fully covered (if using the ricotta separate, spread the ricotta on top of the noodles before the meat) .  Top with about 1 cup or more of mozzarella and another layer of noodles.

Spread the last half of the meat on top of the noodles and repeat as above.  Finish the lasagna with the last of the sauce and mozzarella. (Some lasagna pans are deeper; then, just make more layers).

Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350F for about 45 minutes, then remove the foil and continue baking for about 15 minutes until the cheese browns.  You can also put the finished lasagna, covered with foil, in the refrigerator for up to 1 day until ready to bake.

Let lasagna cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.  Makes about 8 servings.

Do not worry if you have left over noodles.  I brush any leftover, cooked, noodles with olive oil, then drop in a freezer bag, and freeze for up to 3 months.  Defrost over night in the refrigerator and they are as good as before.


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