Saturday, March 28, 2009

Helen's Lasagna




A few years ago my husband and I took a weekend trip to Tahoe with our friends Helen, Phil and their son Graydon. We each took a night to prepare dinner and Helen made this super simple Lasagna. Since our trip, I have added my own twist to her recipe. The flavors come from the ricotta mixture and the spicy Italian sausage.

Ingredients:
1 package (8oz) Lasagna Noodles
1 16 oz. package of Mozzarella Cheese grated
1 15 oz. container Ricotta Cheese
1 egg
2 t. dried oregano
2 t. dried parsley
1 T. garlic powder
½ t. salt
6 grinds of pepper
1 large onion (diced and sautéed in 1 T. of butter until translucent)
2 lbs. (10 links) spicy Italian sausage
1 c. parmesan cheese
6 c. spaghetti sauce (two 24 oz. jars or 6 cups homemade)

Over medium heat in a large skillet, cook sausage. After 5 minutes of cooking, cut each one in half to speed the cooking time. Continue to cook until completely done. Let cool for a few minutes. Place half into a food processor and pulse into small pieces. Continue until all sausage is processed. Place into a bowl and set aside.

Cook lasagna noodles “al dente” according to the packages instructions. Once they are done, drain the water and set aside. Toss a bit of olive oil over all of them to prevent sticking.

In a bowl, add the ricotta, egg, dried oregano and parsley along with the garlic powder. Add the salt and pepper. Stir until combined. Grate the mozzarella cheese and set aside.

To assemble:Preheat oven to 350. Use a 9 x 13, glass, ceramic or cast iron pan. Spread 1 cup of spaghetti sauce over the bottom of the pan. Place 5 noodles in the bottom of the pan, covering completely. Spread 2 cups of spaghetti sauce over noodles and then spread the ricotta mixture over the sauce. Sprinkle half of the sausage along with half of the sautéed onions. Sprinkle one cup of the grated mozzarella cheese and 1/3 cup of parmesan cheese.

Place the other 5 noodles on top and cover completely. Spread 1 cup of spaghetti sauce over the noodles. Add the other half of the meat over all the noodles along with 1 cup of the grated mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle the rest of the sautéed onions and 1/3 cup of parmesan cheese.

Top with the remaining 2 cups of spaghetti sauce and spread evenly. Sprinkle 2 cups of Mozzarella cheese to cover entire pan and sprinkle 1/3 cup of the parmesan cheese.

Bake for about 1 hour at 350 until brown and bubbly. Let sit for about 5 minutes prior to cutting. Heat up additional spaghetti sauce and place each square slice on top of the sauce for extra richness and flavor. Enjoy!

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