04
Aug
10

Turkey Sausage Lasagna

My friend Kim had a baby recently. In other words, I had an excuse to make this lasagna. I’ve developed quite an attachment to this recipe. It was first meal I made at our condo in the Central West End, shortly before Jeff and I got married. I’ve made it for special occasions, cold weekends, and whenever I crave it, like this week (so what if it’s 100 degrees outside?). Last year at this time, my  friend Mark from Malaysia came over for an American cooking lesson, so to speak. He wanted to learn to make lasagna, so we cooked two batches. One we inhaled with Jeff, Elie and Chris on our deck that night, and the other went into the freezer. I brought it out about one month after Gabi was born.

So once again, the opportunity presented itself. Two batches. One for Kim and Todd. The other for our freezer. Yesterday I took ours out and heated it up until the cheese started to burn slightly along the edges. The turkey sausage-tomato sauce infuses the lasagna with hints of fennel. The ricotta cheese mixture, with parsley and basil, give it a freshness you don’t find often in lasagna. The goat cheese adds some salty tang. It all comes together in one melty, cheesy, tomatoey kiss.

There are millions of lasagnas out there. I always come back to this one. It comes with terrific memories, and the taste is out of this world.

Turkey Sausage Lasagna
Barefoot Contessa Family Style

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed (use sweet Italian pork sausage if turkey isn’t available)
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes in tomato puree
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound lasagna noodles
15 ounces ricotta cheese
3 to 4 ounces creamy goat cheese, crumbled
1 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
1 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a large (10 to 12-inch) skillet. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the sausage and cook over medium-low heat, breaking it up with a fork, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until no longer pink. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, the basil, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat, for 15 to 20 minutes, until thickened.

Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with the hottest tap water. Add the noodles and allow them to sit in the water for 20 minutes. Drain.

In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, goat cheese, 1 cup of Parmesan, the egg, the remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.

Ladle 1/3 of the sauce into a 9 by 12 by 2-inch rectangular baking dish, spreading the sauce over the bottom of the dish. Then add the layers as follows: half the pasta, half the mozzarella, half the ricotta, and one 1/3 of the sauce. Add the rest of the pasta, mozzarella, ricotta, and finally, sauce. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of Parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling.

Serves 8

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