I did make the Sausage Lasagne last night, and I have to tell you - it was yummy and well worth the added effort. Unfortunately, Nate and I were both super hungry by the time it was done that we didn't let the dish "set" which caused our plates to look like a crime scene...so, no picture of my efforts.
I have fond memories of my Meme's lasagne growing up. Instead of browned ground beef or sausage, she would make these mini meatballs. I would (very carefully) pick out all of the meatballs from my serving, and eat those first because they were just so cute! When I have a lot of time on my hands, I make it the same way - - it just becomes all the more special and warms me from within.
KAT'S CLASSIC SAUSAGE LASAGNE
Barilla (no pre-cook needed) lasagne noodles* - I used the flat version
2 jars of your favorite marinara sauce
1 cup of bechamel sauce (recipe to follow)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 lb ground sweet italian sausage
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
1 tbsp parsley
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 container of ricotta cheese
1 egg, slightly beaten
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Prepare Bechamel: Melt 2 tbsp of butter in a large skillet. Add 2 tbsp of flour, and stir to combine. Slowly add 1 1/2 - 2 cups of milk and stir. Let thicken (until mixture yields approximately 1 cup of bechamel). Add a touch of freshly grated nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste.
In another skillet, heat olive oil. Add sausage, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon. Once sausage is half-way cooked, add onion and garlic and finish cooking until onion is translucent and sausage is browned. Remove from heat.
In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, beaten egg, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and parlsey. Mix thoroughly to combine. In a large bowl, combine marinara sauce and freshly made bechamel sauce.
Assembly: Place approximately 1 cup of sauce mixture into the bottom of a 9x13x2 inch baking dish. Place none-cook noodles in a single layer along the bottom. Layer cheese mixture then sausage mixture, then top with more sauce. Finally add a good helping of shredded mozzarella cheese. Continue entire layering process until you reach the lip of the baking dish, finishing with the final layer of noodles, sauce and mozzarella cheese. (I got about 3 layers completed.) Cover whole dish with foil, and place on a baking sheet (seriously - don't skip this part...it's "insurance" for your oven) in the middle of your oven. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.
Serves an army. (I plan on freezing the rest, by serving size.)
*I've always used generic brand pasta - but many of my foodie friends encouraged me to try Barilla, since they claim that it is the best dried pasta available. I finally caved in and bought it, and they were right. It cooked up perfectly.