In my opinion, if you are going to eat something more than once, you may as well put a little extra umph into it. Lasagna just so happens to be one of those dishes. Doesn’t it seem like lasagna can last us a whole week? It is like the dinner that never quits giving. So let’s give a little back to that oh-so-generous Italian casserole.
While this may not be the quickest dinner to assemble, it is well worth the time and effort. This lasagna features a homemade tomato sauce, aromatic basil, flavorful Italian sausage, creamy Ricotta alongside melty Mozzarella and Fontina cheeses. You will have no regrets devoting a little extra time in the kitchen to this masterpiece.
It’s a comforting and delicious four-cheese lasagna featuring an easy, homemade marinara based meat sauce, and it is absolute dinnertime perfection. Please, enjoy!
- 2 tbsp Canola Oil separated
- 1 lb Mild Italian Sausage
- 1/3 c Green Bell Pepper seeded and finely diced
- 1 Yellow Onion finely diced
- 2 Cloves of Garlic minced
- 28 oz Can of Crushed Tomatoes
- 1 tbsp of Granulated Sugar
- 1 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1 tsp Black Pepper
- ¼ c Water
- 1 tbsp Minced Fresh Basil
- 16 oz Whole Milk Ricotta
- ½ c Freshly Grated Parmesan separated
- 1 c Fontina Cheese diced
- 2 Eggs slightly beaten
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Minced Fresh Basil
- 6-8 Lasagna Noodles
- 8 oz Bocconcini or Fresh Mozzarella shredded by hand
To begin, bring a large pot of salted water to a roaring boil, grease a 9x13” casserole dish and preheat the oven to 350°. Add 1 ½ tbsp of canola oil to a large sauté pan or an enameled cast iron Dutch oven over medium heat. Once the pan is brought to temperature, add Italian sausage and break apart with a wooden spatula or spoon. Saute for 8 minutes or until the sausage is cooked through. Remove sausage from the pan and set aside until ready to use.
Add the remaining 1 ½ tbsp of canola oil to the pan, followed immediately by the pepper and onions. Saute for 5 minutes or until slightly softened. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add the remaining sauce ingredients to the vegetables and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 15 minutes.
Add basil to the sauce, stir, remove from the heat and set aside. Add all of the ingredients for the Ricotta mixture to a medium sized mixing bowl and stir until evenly combined. Set aside until ready to use.
Have ready a large sheet of wax or parchment paper. To par-cook the noodles, add them to the boiling water, reference the package cooking instructions and cut the boiling time in half. Remove noodles from the pot and transfer to the wax paper until cool enough to handle. Lay Mozzarella in between a layer of paper towels and press gently to squeeze out any excess moisture.
Lasagna Assembly by Layers: 1) Spread 1 c meat sauce evenly across the bottom of the pan. 2) Lay down three noodles, one right next to the other. *3) Add 1 ½ c meat sauce and spread evenly across the noodles and to the edges of the dish.** 4) Spread all of the Ricotta mixture evenly across the meat sauce and to the edges of the dish. 5) Lay down three noodles, one right next to the other.6 ) Spread remaining sauce evenly across the noodles and to the edges of the dish. 7) Scatter Mozzarella and remaining ¼ c of Parmesan evenly across the top of the casserole.
Cover with nonstick aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes so the layers have time to set. Serve and enjoy!
Makes 9-12 Servings *It is ok if the noodles don’t fill the entire pan.
**When you are adding the sauce or Ricotta mixture atop another layer, it helps to dollop it in the center and spread it using an offset spatula, gently and slowly working your way outward until you reach the edges.
Would pair well with:
Light Red Wine, such a Grenacha or Pinot Noir