Usually once a year, always in the winter or late fall or very early spring, I bake lasagna. I mean, why turn on the oven when it’s 86F (30F)? But when it’s 23F (-5C), that’s another matter entirely. And I generally make at least TWO of them, because the mess from making one just isn’t worth the effort.
On page 247 of Betty Crocker’s 40th Anniversary Edition Cookbook is the recipe for Italian Sausage Lasagna. Oddly, it’s in the Meat section of the book. Usually, I don’t put in any meat at all. I have added spinach, though.
This year, though, we had a half pound of chicken sausage, left over from my daughter’s experimental meal the night before. She told me that taking it out of the casings was “disgusting.” Oh, how bad can it be? It’s like ground beef, right? Well, no, actually. It felt clammy. Never again. I’ll slice it instead. The recipe called for two pounds, but we go with what we have.
I cook the chicken sausage, two mediumish chopped onions and some garlic that my wife had in the fridge. Did I add a couple teaspoons of sugar? I don’t recall. Need a lot of tomato. The recipe wants 32 ounces of tomatoes and 30 ounces of tomato sauce. I’ll at least double it.
Cook it all together until it boils, then let it simmer. The book says for 45 minutes, but I’ve gone longer and shorter than that. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Mix a carton of ricotta cheese, 24 ounces, and a carton of cottage cheese, 32 ounces, with a half a cup of Parmesan.
Don’t cook the lasagna noodles
Then spread the sauce mixture in the bottom of the baking dish. Add the dry lasagna noodles, because dealing with wet pasta noodles is too much like work. Then more sauce, cheese mixture, sauce, mozzarella, noodles, sauce. Basically the idea is to have enough sauce and other liquids so that cooking the pasta is unnecessary.
Cover and bake 30 minutes, and uncover for another 15. Unless your oven is running cool, which ours does, and end up cooking covered another 20 minutes and uncovered for 10 more.
They turned out OK, one with wheat pasta, and one with the traditional style. But note to OGA: not as good as the lasagna you’re bringing over to my house on March 14, OK?
Lasagna – Weird Al Yankovic.