Prep and bake: sausage lasagna
As I get older, I’m learning that prepping makes all the difference. Doing your prep work in the kitchen saves time, money and frustration. It helps to make weeknight dinners get on the table faster and without any stress.
I feel this way about lasagna: why not make it a head of time and bake it the night you’re going to eat it? It had been quite some time since I had made a lasagna, so, under my new initiative to prep, I made this on a Sunday but wrapped it up and put it in the fridge to bake off the next night.
The result was fantastic! It is delicious, cheesy, meaty lasagna. So hearty and belly warming! I loved the single layer of ricotta - it was so fluffy and light. I will be making this again! The recipe comes from the lovely and talented Rachel of the Baked by Rachel blog. Her recipes are always fantastic!
Adapted from Baked by Rachel (click on my photo to link to her recipe).
- 1/2 lb extra lean ground beef
- 2 hot Italian sausages, casings removed
- 1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, divided
- further salt and pepper to taste wherever you like
- 3/4 tsp red pepper flakes, optional
- 2 tsp dried Italian herbs
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped (any colour would work)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 14oz petite diced tomatoes, undrained (I used garlic and olive oil flavoured tomatoes)
- 1 720 ml jar passata (strained tomatoes - or use a tomato sauce of your choosing)
- 12-15 lasagna noodles (not oven ready)
- 15oz ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
- 4 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
Prepare your lasagna noodles. You can boil them, but because my lasagna sat in the fridge for 24 hours before baking, all I did was simply soak my noodles in boiling water for about 20 minutes. It is up to you how you choose to do this. I think oven ready noodles might work here but I have not tried it with them so I cannot vouch for it.
Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Remove the sausages from their casing and break up in the frying pan. Add the ground beef and cook until no longer raw. Add onions, bell pepper and garlic and cook until softened, a few minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste, Italian herbs and red pepper flakes. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a separate bowl, combine ricotta, egg, Parmesan cheese and 1/2 tsp of pepper. Stir well to combine.
Now you can start putting together your lasagna! Start by taking a 9X13 baking dish and giving it a one over with cooking spray. Now, put 1 cup of the passata in the bottom the dish. Top with a layer of lasagna noodles (however many will fit - feel free to break some to fit in the ends). Top this with all of the ricotta mixture, and then another layer of noodles. Next, add half the meat mixture, then more noodles. Top this with half of the mozzarella cheese and then the remaining meat mixture. Add a final layer of noodles, the rest of the passata sauce (it will be saucy! But it sinks down throughout the dish) and the rest of the mozzarella cheese.
You can bake this at 375° for 30 minutes, or, let it cool (if necessary) and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you want to cook it. To cook from being refrigerated, remove lasagna from the fridge a half hour before cooking, and preheat oven to 400°. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until warmed through and the top is bubbling and slightly browned. I would recommend placing the baking dish on a baking sheet to catch any sauce that bubbles over.
Try to wait about 10 minutes after removing it from the oven before serving to let it rest. Serve with salad, bread and top with more Parmesan and red pepper flakes if desired!