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Jason’s Awesome Lasagna

Temperature375°Time45 mins

Jason’s Awesome Lasagna

BackgroundBackground

I like to take frozen food to new parents because after about 2 weeks, the grandparents leave and people stop bringing over fresh food. The babies are still newborns and the parents are still exhausted so I try to make stuff to get them through a few more days. The first time I did that was for my sister’s first child and I made her this lasagna.

This awesome lasagna recipe is the second recipe I ever wrote (at the behest of my sister) and one of the dishes I make for a crowd. The sauce is chock full of vegetables and hot Italian sausage and the lasagna is loaded with cheese. Another great thing about this recipe is that it makes 2 full-size lasagnas or 6 loafsagnas, making it ideal for feeding your freezer.

The RecipeRecipe

Jason’s Awesome Lasagna
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Ingredients
For the Sauce
  • 2 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Onions, Roughly Chopped
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, Roughly Chopped
  • 2 Stalks of Celery, Roughly Chopped
  • 10 Baby Carrots, Halved
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper, Roughly Chopped
  • 1 Yellow Bell Pepper, Roughly Chopped
  • 8 Ounces Cremini Mushrooms, Sliced (sometimes called “Baby Portobello”)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 - 28 oz cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1 Cup Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1lb Hot Italian Sausage, casings removed
  • Big Handful of Parsley, finely chopped (about ½ cup)
  • Lots of Basil, finely chopped (about ½ cup)
  • 4 oz Ricotta Cheese

For the Lasagna
  • 24 Lasagna Noodles
  • 32 oz Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded
  • 3 oz Parmesan Cheese, Shredded
Instructions
Make the Sauce
  1. Sautee the onions and garlic in the olive oil, 2 pinches of salt, and 5 grinds of pepper, in a big pot over medium heat until they start to soften (about 5 minutes).
  2. Add the other copped vegetables and mix to combine all the ingredients. Add in the tomatoes and wine and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, stir occasionally, clean the kitchen, read a book.
  3. Once all of our vegetable friends are soft (about an hour to an hour and a half), puree the mixture with an emersion blender (stick blender). If you don’t have an emersion blender, write a note to get one and use a food processor or a regular blender. The sauce should be pretty smooth and there shouldn’t be any chunks of veggies left (you’re welcome moms and picky eaters).
  4. Remove the casings from the sausage and cook it up in a cast iron skillet like you’d cook ground beef. Drain it on a paper towel and then add to the sauce. Throw in the parsley and basil, and adjust the seasoning to taste. If it’s too acidic, add a bit more wine or some sugar. If it’s not salty enough add a little but remember that all of the cheese you’re going to add is salty so don’t go crazy.
  5. Stir in the ricotta until it’s melted and take the sauce off the heat.

Cook the Pasta
  1. Fill a large pot ⅔ full of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Once the water boils, add the salt.
  2. Cook half of the pasta in the boiling water for 6 minutes, remove from the water (don’t discard the water), and lay flat on parchment paper. Do not use no-cook lasagna noodles. They’re gross.

Build the Lasagnas
Note: For this recipe, we’re going to use 2 foil lasagna pans. You can also use 1 lasagna pan and 3 loaf pans (pictured below).

Layer as follows:
  1. Sauce
  2. noodles (3 vertical and 1 across the bottom)
  3. Sauce
  4. Mozzarella and a bit of Parmesan
  5. noodles (1 across the top and 3 vertical)
  6. Sauce
  7. Mozzarella and a bit of Parmesan
  8. noodles (3 vertical and 1 across the bottom)
  9. Sauce
  10. Offensive amount of mozzarella and some Parmesan

Cook the Lasagnas!
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°
  2. Cook the lasagnas for 45 minutes or until the top is bubbly and it’s heated through (160° on an instant-read thermometer).
  3. Let the lasagnas sit for 10 – 15 minutes before cutting so they can firm up a bit.

Tips and TricksTips and Tricks

If you don’t like pockets of ricotta in your lasagna, do what I do and melt it in the sauce!

When building the lasagnas, it’s best to layer both at the same time so you can make sure you don’t run out of anything and end up with a sad lasagna.

If you’d like to break up the cooking process, you can stop this recipe after making the sauce and before assembling the lasagna. You can hold assembled lasagnas in the refrigerator for 48 hours without any reduction in quality. Just bring it to room temperature before you cook it and your cooking time should be the same.

Feed the FreezerFeed the Freezer

This dish is perfect freezer food so make a lot at once and hang on to the rest. When I make this at home, we make one large pan for when we have company and 3 small loaf pans for when it’s just the two of us and we don’t want leftovers. Simply trim the noodles to fit the length of your loaf pans and use one per layer. You now have loafsagna!

Reheat from frozen at 375° for 1 hour and 30 minutes – one hour and 45 minutes for the full lasagna (1 hour for the loafsagna). Cover them with aluminum for all but the last 20 minutes to make sure you don’t burn the cheese. Heat until a probe thermometer inserted in the center of the lasagna reaches 160°.

Fun FactsFun Facts

July is Lasagna Awareness Month so we got this one in right under the wire!

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