- (3 1/2 tsp) Salt
- (2 Tbsp) Virgin Olive Oil
- (2 lbs) Italian Sausage
- (1) Medium Yellow Onion - Finely chopped
- (6) Cloves of Garlic - Minced
- (2 oz (canned)) Tomato Paste
- (1 (28-oz) can) Whole peeled canned tomatoes
- (1 (16oz) can) Tomato Sauce
- (2 Tbsp) Italian Seasoning
- (2 tsp) Fennel
- (To taste) Black Pepper
- (16 oz) Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
- (1) Egg
- (1 cup) grated Parmesan Cheese
- (1 1/2 lbs) grated Mozzarella Cheese
- (1/4 cup) Fresh Basil (loosely packed, minced)
- (1 lbs) Dried Lasagna
Anneliese uses a dutch oven for making the sauce, and a 9x12 baking pan for the lasagna construction. You will need one mixing bowl for making the ricotta mixture.
Before you start - Look at your lasagna noodles! If they are the no-boil kind, carry on and ignore this statement. If they require pre-boiling, prepare your noodles as listed on the box.
- Heat oven to 375°F.
- Heat olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot until glistening. Add ground meat, onion, garlic, Italian seasoning, fennel, black pepper, and 1/2 tsp salt. Cook until the meat is browned and the onions are translucent.
- If I have a bottle of dry red open at this time, I'll add 1/2 cup to the sausage mixture to deglaze the bottom of my dutch oven... Next, add tomato paste, stirring until completely combined. Pour the juice in from the whole tomatoes, and crush the whole tomatoes with your hand as you add them in individually (or buy crushed).
- Bring to a simmer and reduce to low heat, stirring occasionally while the sauce thickens. This should take roughly 15 min.
- While your sauce is getting "saucy," dump your ricotta cheese into a mixing bowl. Add 1 egg, minced basil, 1-1/2 tsp salt, and 3/4 cups of the grated parmesan. Whip it up good 'til fully combined.
- Taste your sauce, add salt and pepper as needed to taste. If your sauce is a bit tangy, add a little sugar to balance (it's not in the product list because it's not always necessary!)
- Spread 1 cup of sauce in the bottom of the 9x12 baking pan, and layer with lasagna noodles trying not to overlap their edges.
- Cover noodles with 1 cup or so of sauce, 1/4 of your ricotta mixture spread evenly across the sauce surface, and 1/4 cup (or more+) of the mozzarella. (Cheese should be measured with the heart)
- Top with a layer of noodles, repeating the previous step's layering process roughly three more times.
- After placing the last of your noodles, cover with the remaining sauce, sprinkle remaining mozzarella cheese, and top with the leftover parmesan.
- Loosely cover the top of your masterpiece with aluminum foil to prevent burning the cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil for the last 20 minutes to brown the top.
- Let it cool for 10 or so minutes before eating.
A note for our Gluten-free peeps - I have found that the two best noodles for gluten-free lasagna are the GF Lasagna Noodles from Pastamoré in the Keg and Case in St. Paul. They have an amazing selection of noodles in general... I will be bringing back a box full next time I head in that direction. IF I do not have those noodles, Jovial has a pretty solid Lasagna noodle that does not require pre-boiling (or extra dishes).