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Monday, January 18, 2010

Four Cheese Lasagna with Sausage

My family really enjoys this lasagna recipe!  It´s lighter in texture than other recipes I use and we like the distinct flavor added by the goat cheese and fresh herbs.  You can assemble this a day ahead and bake it right before dinner.

Tip:  To make ahead, refrigerate the assembled, unbaked lasagna.  Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until bubbly.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound sausage, with the casing removed (I use turkey sausage)
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/8 cup chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound lasagna noodles
12 ounces ricotta cheese
3 to 4 ounces creamy goat cheese, crumbled
1 cup Parmesan cheese, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
1 pound fresh mozzarella, shredded or thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.  Add the garlic and cook for one minute.  Add the sausage and cook over medium-low heat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until no longer pink.  Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, the basil, thyme, crushed red pepper, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.  Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat, for 15 to 20 minutes, until thickened.

Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with the hottest tap water.  Add the noodles and allow them to sit in the water for 20 minutes. Drain. (Or use noodles which don´t need to be pre-cooked.)

In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, goat cheese, 1 cup of Parmesan, the egg and the remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Set aside.

Ladle 1/3 of the sauce into a 9 x 12 x 2-inch rectangular baking dish spreading the sauce over the bottom of the dish.  Then add the layers as follows:  half the pasta, half the mozzarella, half the ricotta mixture and 1/3 of the sauce.  Add the rest of the pasta, mozzarella, ricotta mixture, and finally, sauce.  Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling.

Serves 8

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