I love you, Ina (and your lasagna, too)

After two days of eating hot dogs, marshmallows, lunchables, breakfast bars and chocolate pudding (oh my!) on their recent camping trip, I decided to treat my men to a nice home cooked meal.

Enter Ina, aka the Barefoot Contessa.

I’ve tried several recipes from this book and have been happy with all of them. The lasagna on page 100-101 is no exception.

Note that this is not a quick and easy weeknight dinner. Plan to make it on an afternoon when you aren’t rushed. It’s not hard at all, but it does require some prep work as you have to make the sauce from scratch as well as the cheese filling. However, she doesn’t boil the noodles. Instead she, “fills a large bowl with the hottest tap water, adds the noodles and allows them to sit in the water for 20 minutes and drains them.”

I, however, was even lazier. I used no-cook lasagna noodles. Shhhh, don’t tell!

My husband, who was really tired from not sleeping because of the bluegrass festival right next to his tent site (!), managed to look up after taking a couple of bites and say to me, “This is the best lasagna I have ever eaten. You need to make this again.”

To which I think, “it probably tastes so good because you’ve been eating out of a box or package for the last two days.”

But whatever, I’ll take the compliment!

The Barefoot Contessa’s Lasagna with Turkey Sausage

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 C chopped yellow onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 pound sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed (I couldn’t find turkey sausage, so I just used regular sausage)
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes in tomato puree (or juice)
  • 1 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 1/4 C chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
  • 1/2 C chopped fresh basil leaves (I substituted about 1 1/2 tsp of dried basil)
  • kosher salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 1/2 lb lasagna noodles
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • 3-4 oz creamy goat cheese, crumbled (I substituted 1/2 C of cottage cheese)
  • 1 C grated Parmesan cheese, plus 1/4 C for sprinkling
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 lb fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced (I used the pre-shredded kind)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook for five minutes over medium-low heat until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute. Add the sausage and cook over medium-low heat, breaking it up, for 8-10 minutes, or until no longer pink. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 T of parsley, the basil, 1 1/2 tsp salt (omit this if you are using flavored (salted) tomato paste) and 1/2 tsp 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. (I skipped this step and just used the no-cook lasagna noodles instead).

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

Ladle 1/3 of the sauce into a 9 x 12 x 2-inch baking dish (I sprayed mine with cooking spray) 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 third of the sauce. Add the rest of the pasta, mozzarella, ricotta and the rest of the sauce. (At this point, I put more mozzarella on top). Sprinkle with 1/4 C of Parmesan cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling.

To make ahead: refrigerate the assembled, unbaked lasagna. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until bubbly.

My husband actually had a second helping, which he almost never does. (He’s trying to lose his belly!) Even with feeding the four of us, there was plenty of leftovers. I put two pieces in the fridge, which were gone the next day, and the rest I wrapped in freezer paper and put in a labeled freezer bag.

Trust me, you need to label it. You’ll tell yourself that you will remember what is in there, but then promptly forget. Ask me how I know:)

You might like to take a look at some of the other recipes I’ve posted. Enjoy!

Published in: on August 24, 2011 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  

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