January 6, 2010

Fa la la la lasagna...

YOU can make lasagna.

I know, I know...if someone had said those very words to me even a month ago, I would have given them a skeptical look and scoffed at their optimism. But trust me! I'm a pessimist about many things and even I'm convinced...anyone can make lasagna. Or, at least, anyone can make some sort of layered pasta dish incorporating lasagna noodles. It might not be authentic lasagna, but as long as you use the ingredients you love to eat, you really can't go wrong. Plus, a dish like this can really wow people without requiring too much extra work.

It's also a hearty meal - before you know it, you'll have cooked a giant pan of deliciousness. No need to make separate entrees/side dishes for dinner - the meat, vegetables, and carbs are all right there in the same pan, layered to perfection.

Sausage, Spinach, and Mushroom Lasagna

3/4 lb. hot Italian sausage
1/4 lb. ground chicken/turkey/beef
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 box white mushrooms, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 onion, minced
3/4 c. frozen spinach, dunked in hot water and drained
1 jar marinara sauce
1 14.5 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 lb. (2 cups) part-skim mozzarella, grated
Approx. 12 lasagna noodles, cooked al dente & set aside in a bowl of cold water

Cook the sausage (making sure to remove the casing) and ground meat. Drain the fat. Set aside in a bowl. Heat a medium-sized pot with a little vegetable oil, and add the mushrooms, bell pepper, garlic, onion, and spinach. Cook and stir over medium heat until fragrant. Add the sauces (but reserve about 1/2 cup of the marinara sauce). Then add the cooked meat mixture.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Start spooning the reserved marinara sauce into a 9x13 in. pan. Place a layer of lasagna noodles on top, then spoon the veg/meat mixture evenly on top. Sprinkle cheese if desired. Repeat this process until you have no more noodles or filling left. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and place the entire pan into the oven to bake for 20-30 minutes. You might not even need to bake it that long because all the ingredients are essentially cooked. Just basically melt the cheese and let it bake a little longer if you like your lasagna a little drier/crunchier and less soggy.

You'll notice there is no ricotta cheese in this recipe. That's because I hate ricotta cheese. I used to have to spoon out the layers of ricotta in every lasagna I had. It felt like such a waste. Such is the beauty of making your own lasagna - you can personalize it however you wish. It might not be authentic, but hey, it's still pretty impressive. Not to mention (but yes, it must be mentioned!) mouthwatering. I loved it so much I made it again the following week. With mustard greens instead of spinach, and ground turkey instead of sausage. The variations are endless...


Minh Le said...

I want lasagna right now. Also, you hate ricotta??

Linda said...

Cute blog....I just found you!
Nice recipes too!!