I made this last week for my husband who kept insisting on it. Obviously, this is a treat dish and not something I make regularly because of its richness. But when I do I don’t hold back.
Lasagna, although a bit time-consuming, is extremely easy to put together. The trick is to just having all the elements prepared and ready, to make layering easy.
My husband puts in requests for these elaborate sort of meals quite often. He is a big eater and craves specific dishes pretty regularly. As my youngest is just 5 months old, it has been a difficult task to pull these sort of dishes off as often as I did before he came along but as every mother with little babies in the house know it’s not always easy to find windows of opportunity to make elaborate meals. But I do my best to satisfy my family’s cravings.
The sauce in this dish is a family favorite and one I make a lot. Generally, I just use this in my spaghetti dish but it is delicious layered in this lasagna.
I have memories of my mom using sausage in her lasagna quite a bit as I was growing up so this way of making it is definitely my favorite and provides some nostalgia for me.
What You Will Need:
- Red, Yellow, Orange Bell Peppers
- olive oil
- 1 lb of Italian sweet sausage
- Large Onion, chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- salt & pepper
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
- 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 8 oz. tomato sauce
- 1/2 lb lasagna noodles
- 8 oz. ricotta cheese
- 10 oz fresh spinach, cooked
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese
Heat the oven to 500°. Wash peppers and place them on a baking sheet. Place in the oven and roast for 35 minutes turning twice. Making sure all sides become charred. Remove and cover with foil for 30 minutes. Remove skins and chop.
To prepare the sauce, add some oil to a large skillet or frying pan, add onions and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add sausage, (if in casings make sure to remove) and add the meat to pan, breaking it up as it cooks. When meat is no longer pink add garlic, salt and pepper to taste, crushed red pepper, oregano, basil, parsley and stir. Cook for 1 minute. Add peppers, stir and add the crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce to pan, salt and pepper to taste, stir, cover and let simmer while you prepare noodles.
Hint: The longer this sauce cooks the better it gets. 🙂
Boil your noodles until al dente. Meanwhile, combine your ricotta and spinach in a bowl.
Heat oven to 350°.
To layer, take a couple ladles full of sauce and add to the bottom of a greased 9×9 baking dish. Top with some noodles, take a 1/3 of your ricotta/spinach mixture and top those, then add a 1/3 of the Parmesan cheese and top with a couple ladles full of sauce. Continue the layers twice more, topping with just sauce and cover with foil and cook for 20 minutes. Remove and top with mozzarella and remaining Parmesan and cover and return to oven for 15 minutes, until cheese is melted through.
Let lasagna sit for 5 minutes before cutting.