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I very seldom make lasagna. The time commitment alone makes me scurry for the pizza delivery phone number. There are occasions, however, that mandate the effort, like when your daughter comes home from college for the weekend and she’s craving Mom’s Spicy Sausage and Spinach Lasagna. Time to roll up your sleeves.
My not so secret trick is to build up to making the lasagna. I don’t EVER make it in one day, instead I go in stages. Day one: homemade marinara.
Day two: Sausage and Mushroom Ragout.
Day three: assemble the lasagna.
I don’t make my own pasta (tongue sticking out emoji) but that’s about the only thing I short-cut on. And I always insist on using real Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. You can tell it’s the real deal by the tell-tale PIN DOTS on the rind. If you were to see an entire wheel – those dots would spell out: PARMIGIANO REGGIANO.
There are many ways to grate parmesan – you can toss a chunk in the food processor and give it a whirl, or use a fancy cheese grater. My personal preference is just running it along a microplane for fluffy, light parmesan perfection.
The parmesan goes into the cheese filling with eggs, parsley, salt and pepper.
Stir until blended and then start the assembly. In the past, I’ve used both regular lasagna noodles that you cook as well as the thinner, no cook lasagna sheets and I have to say, I prefer the no cook variety.
Aside from the fact that it saves you a step, those sheets are also thinner and more delicate, providing just the right structure for this lasagna.
Frozen chopped spinach that’s completely thawed and squeezed dry is a great way to add vegetables to this casserole — you know, in between those layers of mozzarella cheese and sauce…
Finish off the lasagna with more sauce, mozzarella and plenty of parmesan and bake!
This is enough to feed a crowd, so either invite a group (and have them bring the wine, bread and a salad) or divvy it up into smaller portions and freeze in heavy duty aluminum foil for a night when you DON’T feel like cooking, but DO feel like eating!
This layered sausage and spinach lasagna would make Popeye proud!
- 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 I wrap it in a clean dish towel and use all my strength to ring out the liquid over the kitchen sink, completely thawed and all excess moisture squeezed out
- 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.
More Homestyle Casseroles:
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