This tomato-sausage lasagna recipe isn’t a cooking quickie, but compared with classic Italian lasagna recipes like this one here (which I’m very keen to try some time), this is still a lot easier to make. Lasagna can be prepared in advance, stored in the fridge, and cooked later on. Definitely it’s a dish I can make myself before “fast food Friday” arrives. Oh yes, that’s how we call our typical Friday dinner at home. Not necessarily we binge on fast food takeaways, it’s actually when I’m not compelled to cook that we take easy-to-prepare, ready-to-cook meals for dinner instead. Isn’t this recipe so ideal? Hooray! Even more, I’ve already made this dish three times, and it’s just as mouth-watering as ever. Two thumbs up.
A few tips though, first off, make sure not to use too much hot water for the lasagna noodles. I just did that on my first try, and the noodles went too squishy and started to stick together and tear when you try to separate them. Second, you may need to add extra baking time by around 5 to 10 minutes. Unless there’s little mozarella cheese or none at all (happened to me once), it would make it more gooey. For me, I also want to make the sides a little bit dry and burnt. Lastly, try to use full tomato puree or combine it with whole tomatoes. Using 2 cans of whole tomatoes can make the sauce runny. I haven’t done that step yet, but I agree. I did notice that some parts could be too watery and when I sliced a piece, the lasagna would break apart.
For veggie lovers, you may replace sausage with mushrooms or spinach.
12 dried lasagna noodles (about 10 ounces), uncooked
2 teaspoons olive oil 1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
2 cans (28 ounces each) whole peeled tomatoes in puree
Coarse salt and ground pepper
6 cups shredded shredded mozzarella cheese (about 1 1/2 pounds)
3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)
1. Fill a 9-by-13-inch baking dish two-thirds of the way with hot tap water. Add noodles, and arrange them in alternating directions to prevent sticking. Let soak while preparing sauce.
2. Make sauce: Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium. Add onion, garlic, Italian seasoning, and red-pepper flakes; cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add sausage, and cook, stirring and breaking it up, until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and their puree, breaking up tomatoes with a spoon; bring to a boil. Reduce to a rapid simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 20 minutes. (You should have about 8 cups of sauce.) Season with salt and pepper.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drain noodles, transfer to a baking sheet; dry dish with paper towels. Spoon 1 cup sauce in bottom of dish. Fit 4 noodles in dish (crosswise if using short noodles, lengthwise if using long), overlapping slightly. Cover with 2 cups sauce, 2 cups mozzarella, and 1/4 cup Parmesan. Repeat with another layer, then top with remaining noodles, 3 cups sauce, and the rest of mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover dish tightly with aluminum foil, and bake 1 hour. 4. Remove foil, and continue baking until bubbly and browned, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven; let cool 20 minutes. Cut and serve.