If you're having family over for dinner, it isn't always easy to know what to make. The pull between making something special and making something easy so you can spend time with your guests is a struggle. But one dish always comes to the rescue in cases like this: lasagna. This Italian staple will yield enough food to feed a crowd and can largely be prepped ahead of time. Make it once, and you'll see why this spinach and sausage lasagna will become your new favorite go-to dinner idea.
This recipe calls for you to first brown some sweet Italian sausage in a large pot or Dutch oven. Then let it simmer in red wine before creating a delicious homemade sauce made out of tomatoes and basil. If you like your food to have more of a kick, you can use hot Italian sausage. If you want to be able to control the spices in the lasanga, replace a pound of sausage with a pound of ground beef, pork or turkey. Season as desited while the meat cooks, but spices like garlic powder, oregano, dried basil, onion powder and fennel are a good place to start. Don't forget to add salt and pepper — not doing so is a major home cooking mistake.
While the sauce simmers, cook the lasagna noodles until al dente in salted water. Now it’s time to make the mixture for the creamy layer of this pasta dish. Typically people like to use ricotta cheese for a lasagna recipe, but you can substitute it with cottage cheese, which is similar to ricotta in flavor and texture but lighter. Take ricotta cheese and mix it with mozzarella, Parmesan, garlic powder and eggs.
Now you can start layering your masterpiece. In a casserole dish, spread the tomato sauce on the bottom, then layer with lasagna noodles and cover with more sauce. Add your ricotta mixture with some spinach. If you desire, toss in some bell peppers and mushrooms for extra color and flavor to this dish. Continue layering everything until you run out of ingredients. If you're making your lasagna ahead of time, stop here and refrigerate or freeze until you're ready to bake.
Then, top it off with mozzarella and Parmesan before placing the pan in the oven to bake. If you plan on bringing this dish to a party, make sure to let it rest for at least 10 minutes before serving. Of course, this lasagna takes some advance time and planning. If making this pleasing pasta dish takes too much time for you to make, you can always try making one of these pasta recipes that are ready in about half an hour.
4 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound sweet Italian sausage
1/2 cup red wine
1 can (56 ounces) ground peeled tomatoes
1 cup water
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 pound lasagna noodles
3 pounds ricotta
1 1/2 cup mozzarella, grated
1 cup Parmesan, grated
1 teaspoon garlic powder
5 ounces spinach, raw
Step 1: In a large pot or Dutch oven, saute 4 garlic cloves in 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Saute until it starts to brown. Add 1 pound sausage (out of the casing) to the pot. Brown the sausage and break it up with your spoon.
Step 2: Add ½ cup wine to the pot, then scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Let it simmer for 2 minutes
Step 3: Add 56 ounces tomatoes, 1 cup water, 1 tablespoon basil, 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Stir until everything is combined. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Step 4: While the sauce is simmering, fill another large pot with water. Salt the water and bring to a boil. Cook 1 1/2 pound lasagna noodles in the salted water until al dente, about 6-8 minutes. Drain the noodles and set aside.
Step 5: Preheat the oven to 375F.
Step 6: Mix together 3 pounds ricotta, 1 cup of the mozzarella, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, 1 teaspoon garlic powder and 3 eggs in a large bowl. Salt and pepper to taste.
Step 7: In the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan, ladle 1/2 cup of the sauce and spread it out. Arrange a layer of lasagna noodles covering the sauce. Spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture over the noodles, then layer a cup of the spinach.
Step 8: Repeat these layers until you run out of ingredients. The top layer should be a layer of noodles covered with sauce and topped with 1/2 cup of mozzarella and 1/2 cup of Parmesan.
Step 9: Cover the lasagna with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Then uncover and bake for another 15-20 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly. Let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.