I have been a bad blogger. I keep taking breaks. A break for buying a house. A break for fixing up the house. Now a break for summer.
I had planned on posting some summer recipes at least once a week. I made some really tasty food, took some beautiful pictures, but somehow, all this work never quite made it onto the site. Why? Because summer happened.
We are very fortunate to live near two great amusement parks – Busch Gardens and Water Country. I spent a lot of time there with my boys. Then there was my parents’ pool, art museums, blueberry picking, hiking in the park, golf, a trip to Washington D.C. and numerous other outings. Plus we had a whole week with my favorite (and only) brother. After long days of gallivanting around town, I was exhausted and had to choose between sleep (at 9 pm) or staying up late to post recipes. Needless to say, sleep won.
When school started, I resolved to get back on track, set a schedule and stick to it. A week later, I am FINALLY getting something done. I am back into the swing of things and desperately missing the haphazard, wake-up-whenever schedule of summer.
The first day of school is kind of a big deal this year. Everett is starting the third grade, something he is very excited about because this year he receives letter grades as opposed to pass/fail. It’s real school. He’s determined get all A’s – a goal I can absolutely get behind. Garrett is starting high school. He’s a freshman this year, class of 2017. I don’t know who’s more nervous about this. Probably me. I have a feeling the next four years are going to pass much too fast for my comfort.
After a weary first day of school, I wanted to have a homey and comforting dinner waiting for the boys. Anything with cheese and pasta is always a hit. Hearty, gooey, four cheese lasagna with turkey sausage.
I used two pounds of Italian turkey sausage, however pork sausage will work just as well. After a quick browning with onions and garlic, add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, fresh basil and parsley to make a rich sauce. I also added red pepper flakes because we like a little spice. Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes.
While the sauce is cooking, combine three of the cheeses to make the filling. Ricotta, goat and parmesan cheeses are mixed together with parsley, egg, salt and pepper. Be careful when seasoning the filling. Goat cheese and parmesan cheese tend to be on the salty side and it’s easy to over season.
To assemble the lasagna, lightly coat a 9 x 12 inch baking dish with olive oil. Add 1/3 of the sauce to the bottom of the dish. Add a layer of pasta, half the sliced mozzarella cheese, half the cheese filling and 1/3 of the sauce. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
A note on the pasta. I like to use Barilla no boil lasagna noodles. However, they are thin, so I double up the noodles for each layer. There are a total of 8 noodles in each layer. 16 sheets of pasta come in the box, which is the perfect amount for this lasagna.
Once the lasagna is assembled, top it with more parmesan cheese and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Allow the lasagna to cool for 15 minutes before slicing.
This lasagna serves at least eight very healthy portions. If like us, you have a family of four, you’ll have plenty leftover for another night’s dinner or lunch.
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 lb sweet italian turkey sausage, casings removed
- 1/4 – 1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 – 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 – 6 oz can tomato paste
- 1/4 c fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/2 c fresh basil, chopped
- 1 – 9 oz box no boil lasagna noodles
- 15 oz skim ricotta cheese
- 4 oz crumbled goat cheese
- 1 1/4 c grated parmesan cheese
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 lb fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
- salt and pepper
- Place olive oil in a large skillet and bring to medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, cook until translucent, 5-6 minutes.
- Raise heat to medium high and add the sausage. Use a fork to break up the sausage into crumbles and cook until no longer pink, 8 to ten minutes. Add the red pepper flakes (more for a spicier sauce), crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, basil and 2 tablespoons of the parsley. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, uncovered.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- While the sauce is cooking assemble the cheese filling. In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, goat cheese, 1 cup parmesan, egg and 2 tablespoons of parsley. Season with 1/4 teaspoon pepper and a pinch of salt.
- Lightly grease a 9 by 12 inch baking dish with olive oil. Add 1/3 of the tomato sauce to the bottom of the dish then begin layering the lasagna. Layer in this order: half the pasta, half the mozzarella, half the cheese filling and one third of the sauce. Repeat with the rest of the ingredients. Top the lasagna with 1/4 cup parmesan cheese. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Lasagna will be bubbly. Allow at least 15 minutes to cool before slicing and serving.
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Family Style