Lasagna with Chicken Italian Sausage
Declan came into town this week from San Francisco and I wanted to treat him and the guys to a nice meal. I’ve actually cooked a couple things since he’s been here that I want to share with you, so stay tuned. Something about having our friends around makes me want to feed them.
My greatest success in this meal is that I finished everything at the same time, and even had enough forethought to get the table set and ready. We all sat down to a laid out meal and I was greatly pleased.
I wanted to jot down this recipe as I adapted it from one of my all time favorite food writers, the author of Mad Hungry (who I’ve only just now realized has a blog and I’ll have to now jump on subscribing to). To accompany the lasagna, I steamed up some green beans which I buttered and salted, roasted 3 heads of garlic, and toasted some buttered french bread to spread the roasted garlic on.
I’ve got a little bit to drink in me right now, so I’ll make this brief. It was a wonder that I was able to articulate myself enough to get this written down so if there are any errors, I’ll fix them tomorrow.
Makes 15 Big Hunks of Lasagna.
- 1 lb of whole wheat lasagna noodles, cooked in well salted water
- 1 lb of Chicken Italian Sausage
- 1 large egg
- 1 lb of low fat ricotta cheese
- 3/4 cup of Romano or Parmesan cheese, or both.
- 2 32 oz. cans of chopped tomatoes
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp. Oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
- A half head of garlic finely chopped
- Olive oil
- 1 lb mozzarella, cut into 1/3 inch slices
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat up large sauce pan or dutch oven, drizzle in olive oil and saute finely chopped onion and cloves of garlic. Add cans of chopped tomatoes and bring to a boil. Allow sauce to cook down while you prepare other ingredients. Add oregano, salt and pepper to taste while it cooks.d
While sauce is cooking down, cook the lasagna noodles in a generously salted pot of water for about half the recommended time. You want the noodles to not be thoroughly cooked. Drain and float the noodles in cold water.
Crumble the chicken Italian sausage in a pan and cook on medium-high heat until browned.
In a medium bowl, mix together the ricotta, egg and parmesan/romano cheese.
In a 9×13 inch baking dish, pour a ladle of tomato sauce and then layer your first 1/3 of the lasagna on top. Spread the sausage down next, cover with another layer of sauce and then layer noodles on top. Spoon the ricotta mixture in an even layer and top with the remaining 1/3 of the noodles. Pour the rest of the sauce on top and layer the slices of mozzarella over that.
Bake uncovered for around 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it sit for about 15 minutes so that it sets a bit.
Serve with parmesan/romano sprinkled on top. Optionally, you can make a light béchamel sauce to drizzle over the top of each piece of lasagna.
Here’s a nice recipe for béchamel sauce from SmittenKitchen that she used in her marvelous looking mushroom lasagna recipe.
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 4 cups whole milk
- 3/4 cup (12 tablespoons or 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, divided
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I used less, because this seemed like a lot)
“Bring the milk and garlic to simmer in a saucepan, or heat it in your microwave, and set it aside. Melt 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons or 1 stick) butter in a large saucepan. If your name is Deb, you will probably brown this butter, too. Add the flour and cook for one minute over low heat, stirring constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon. Pour in the hot milk, a little at a time at first and stirring until combined. Once you’ve added half of it, you can add the second half all at once, along with 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt, the pepper, and nutmeg. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring or whisking frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until thick. Set aside.”
The roasted garlic is extremely easy to make. Chop off the tops of the garlic heads, taking care not to remove any of the skin from the head. Wrap up in a sheet of tin foil and dribble with olive oil. Set in a cast iron pan or on a cookie sheet and roast while you cook the lasagna, or for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve by squeezing out garlic onto bread or crostinis.
For tonights meal, I sliced up a loaf of french bread, buttered it, stuck it in some tin foil and threw it in the oven for a few minutes while the lasagna finished baking, and then served it with the roasted garlic.
I topped off the meal with some green beans that I just cooked and added a bit of salt, pepper and butter too. They disappeared pretty quickly.
I served a chocolate cake that I’ll share with you in the next post. It was yummy as hell.