LASAGNA – a tale of hubris

Hi there,

I have been interested in cooking since I was a young child. One of the greatest benefits of growing up in Levittown, PA, was the many different ethnic groups that settled in our neighborhood. This was a time of stay at home Mom’s and I was welcomed in everyone’s kitchen to watch and learn what was being made that day.

In spite of the fact that I grew up in a household that thought Ragu was sauce, at the age of 19, I somehow got it into my head that I could make lasagna. Wait it gets better, not only did I think I knew the ins and outs of lasagna making but I entered the recipe in a contest held by the Trentonian. Low and behold I won the contest. To this day I have never been able to figure that one out, since Trenton was filled with Italian American citizens. I surely must have been the only submission.

Well, here is my updated recipe for lasagna which is based on Ina Garten’s recipe. So, as you can see, I still have a lot of hubris to change Ina’s recipe.

“Lasagna: the world’s most perfect food!”
‘Garfield’ (Jim Davis)

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 lbs. spicy Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
  • 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 3/4 tsp. Kosher salt, divided
  • 3/4 tsp. fresh black pepper
  • 8 oz. no cook lasagna noodles
  • 15 oz. ricotta cheese
  •  10 oz box of frozen chopped spinach
  •  1 tsp nutmeg
  • 4 oz. crumbled goat cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus 1/4 cup for the top
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 lb. fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large heavy-duty skillet. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat or until translucent. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until no longer pink.
  2. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, basil, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes or until thickened and reduced.
  3. Defrost the box of spinach and drain VERY well.  The spinach should be almost dry.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, goat cheese, entire box of spinach,  1 cup of Parmesan cheese, egg, remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley, 1 teaspoon of nutmeg, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.
  5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  6. Spoon 1/3 of the sauce into a 9X13-inch rectangular baking dish, spreading the sauce over the bottom of the dish. Next layer half the pasta, half the mozzarella, half the ricotta, and 1/3 of the sauce. Add the rest of the pasta, mozzarella, ricotta, and remaining sauce. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of Parmesan.
  7. Bake, uncovered for 30 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling and the noodles are tender

Special Note: Lasagna can be made with sweet sausage as well as pork sausage or a combination of both. You can double this recipe and freeze one pan for a future dinner. You should freeze the lasagna without cooking. Lasagna always taste better the next day. So, I usually make the lasagna the day before I want to cook and serve it.

See you soon, ❤️💕Bernadette

14 responses to “LASAGNA – a tale of hubris”

  1. My Italian American family members don’t know real Italian cooking, just Americanized versions of Italian food. It’s no surprise you won! I never knew my Sicilian father, but 30 or so years ago I went to Pennsylvania for a family reunion. All I’d ever known was one sister, and all of a sudden I had a dozen uncles, a dozen cousins, and people called nephews and nieces. I was so excited to have dinner at my uncle/aunts house, and she opened a jar of Ragu!!!!! Bubble burst.

  2. Is there anyone who doesn’t like lasagna?? Especially homemade! I loved your 19 years old confidence, you had a winning attitude! So smart to adapt from one of the best Ina…looks divine!
    Jenna

Any comments or suggestions are appreciated. If you like this recipe, please give it to your friends.

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