spicy sausage and spinach lasagna is a labor of love
I very seldom make lasagna. The thought of the time commitment has me scurrying for the pizza delivery phone number. There are occasions, however, that mandate the effort. When it’s something requested by family or friends, my shoulders slump, I let an audible sigh and begin.
So, here’s how I did this one… First, the marinara was one I made a few months ago. I froze half the batch for a future use (Ta-daa — future use) and I used it as a base for my ragout. For the pasta — I was getting the noodles at the store and right next to the regular lasagna that you boil first, they had no-boil lasagna noodles. No boiling, hmmm. Pious angel on one shoulder/eye-rolling devil on the other, both whispering feverishly in my ears.
In defense of this obvious cheat, I am merely doing research for you, dear reader. Wouldn’t you rather know if these ready-to-use lasagna sheets are worth it? Inquiring minds want to know.
My observations: Yes, the, ease of using the dry pasta sheets did save me some time and effort. (After boiling, I would normally pat dry the pasta noodles as I assembled the lasagna). There were some gaps where the sheets didn’t quite fit the pan, I just broke off pieces to the approximate size needed and filled in the gaps. As far as the taste and texture, I thought they were fine, although I noticed that the pasta sheets were much thinner than the traditional cooked variety. I guess they have to be in order for them to cook without water. It wasn’t off-putting to me or my diners, and I really liked the ease and convenience.
That said, it’s a lasagna. And it’s good! This won’t make an appearance at our table more than once or twice a year, so we’re enjoying it while it lasts.
I hope you do too!
- 1 recipe sausage and mushroom ragout (recipe on this site)
- 1 package lasagna noodles (either the kind which require boiling first or the ready-to-use variety)
- 2 1/2 cups cottage cheese
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese, divided
- 1 package frozen chopped spinach, completely thawed and all excess moisture squeezed out (I wrap it in a clean dish towel and use all my strength to ring out the liquid over the kitchen sink)
- 4 cups grated low-moisture, part skim mozzarella
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In a medium bowl add cottage cheese, egg, 1 cup of the parmesan cheese and the parsley. Stir to combine.
- In a 13x9 ceramic or glass baking dish, add a half cup of sauce and using a spoon or spatula, spread it thinly over the bottom of the dish.
- Arrange about 5 pasta noodles on top of that so that they cover the bottom of the dish.
- Spread a quarter of the ragout over the pasta
- Spread about one half of the cottage cheese mixture evenly over the noodles.
- Spread 1 cup of mozzarella over the cottage cheese mixture.
- Top with half of the spinach.
- Repeat the layering: pasta, ragout, cottage cheese, mozzarella, spinach.
- Top with pasta noodles (if using pre-cooked noodles, tuck the ends down into the side of the casserole - you won't have that option with ready-to-use noodles) Top with remaining ragout and mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes, until cheese is melty and crust turns golden.
- The prep time listed is 25 minutes -- this is assuming that you've already made the ragout.