Turkey Sausage-Spinach Lasagna

7 Dec

This has been my go-to lasagna recipe for a few years now.  I’ve made it both with and without the turkey sausage, and I must say I prefer it without, which makes it a great vegetarian dish for company.  It definitely takes some added effort to make the homemade tomato sauce, but it’s well worth it.  In a pinch, I doctor up about 8 cups of prepared pasta sauce* and call it a day.  Don’t worry, it will still get rave reviews.  As an added bonus, you don’t have to precook the lasagna noodles.

Turkey Sausage-Spinach Lasagna with Spicy Tomato Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/4 pounds hot Italian turkey sausages, casings removed
  • Spicy Tomato Sauce, see recipe below
  • 1 15-ounce container ricotta cheese
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
  • 1 3/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 9 uncooked lasagna noodles
  • 3 cups shredded provolone cheese (about 12 ounces)

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add sausages; sauté until brown, using fork to break up meat into coarse pieces, about 7 minutes. Add Spicy Tomato Sauce. Simmer 5 minutes.

Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 375°F. Whisk ricotta, spinach, 1 cup Parmesan, eggs, cream, basil, oregano and pepper in large bowl. Set aside. Spoon 1 cup sauce over bottom of 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Place 3 noodles over sauce in single layer. Spread 1 cup sauce over noodles. Spoon 1 cup ricotta mixture over sauce. Sprinkle 1/4 cup Parmesan and 1 cup provolone over ricotta mixture. Repeat layering with 3 noodles, 1 cup sauce, 1 cup ricotta mixture, 1/4 cup Parmesan and 1 cup provolone. Arrange remaining 3 noodles over cheese. Spoon 1 cup sauce over noodles. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan and 1 cup provolone over lasagna. Dollop remaining ricotta mixture atop lasagna. Spoon 2 1/2 cups sauce around ricotta dollops. Tightly cover baking dish with foil.

Bake lasagna 50 minutes; uncover and continue baking until noodles are tender and lasagna is hot and bubbly, about 25 minutes longer. Let lasagna stand 15 minutes before serving. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool slightly. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm, covered with foil, in 350°F. oven about 45 minutes.)

—————————————

Spicy Tomato Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 2 28-ounce cans Italian-style tomatoes
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes with added purée
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine

Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, oregano, basil, marjoram and crushed red pepper. Cover and cook until onion is translucent, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients; simmer gently, uncovered, until sauce thickens and measures 8 cups total, breaking up tomatoes with spoon and stirring occasionally, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cool slightly. Cover and refrigerate.)

*Note: if you plan to subsitute prepared tomato sauce, I recommend you jazz it up a bit before using.  Simply heat a few Tbsp. of olive oil in a Dutch oven over med-low heat.  Saute an onion (minced) and 3 cloves of garlic (minced) until translucent.  Then add approximately 8 cups of prepared sauce and simmer for at least 10 minutes.  Voila!

Makes: 8 adult servings

Source: Bon Appetit, March 1999

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