You know that list of meals you love to make? The ones you feel are real meals? This is food about which you can say with a smile, “Yeah, I made a home cooked meal.”
This lasagna should go on that list.
It’s simple and freezer friendly (not to mention, quite tasty). This makes two 9×13 pans, so you’ll have a pan for dinner and a pan to freeze (or to share!).
This is the perfect meal to take to a new mommy. This also is great to take to the busy working mom who you know just needs a break. Save them the take-out, and bring lasagna! Add in a bag of salad and a loaf of garlic bread, and you’re good to go. 🙂
I admit, lasagna requires a bit of time and mess for pre-cooking and assembly, but nothing great comes without effort, right? This is why we make two at once. It takes very little extra time and mess to cook double the sausage and boil double the noodles.
In my lasagna, I like a lot of flavor and not too much cheese, especially ricotta. I’ll take a saucy, meaty lasagna over one overflowing with ricotta every day of the week. If you’re a ricotta fanatic, this recipe is not for you.
Here’s how to make it.
First brown some ground sausage. In my opinion, this is the secret to an amazing lasagna. Ground sausage perks up the flavors much better than beef. I used Jimmy Dean this particular time, but any regular pork sausage will do. (Note that this pan contains 3 lbs, but I only used about 1 lb between the two lasagnas. I froze the rest.) Drain the sausage on a plate lined with paper towels.
Boil some water and cook your lasagna noodles. Splash in a teeny bit of oil and stir well to help prevent sticking.
Once they are cooked, drain the noodles and rinse with cold water. Carefully, lay the noodles out on a plate for easy assembly. This is the hardest part for me since I burn my fingers pulling apart the noodles. It’s totally worth it; I’m just impatient and like to get it done. I imagine I could run the cold water while handling them to try to prevent the burns… I should probably try that…
Next, prep your layering station and your pans. Drizzle a little oil in your pans and use your fingers to coat the bottom and sides (or spray with a non-stick spray). Lay out your sausage, noodles, some shredded cheese (and some shredded Parmesan if you have it), some ricotta cheese, and two jars or cans of marinara sauce.
Next, pour in a little sauce and spread it out, just so the flavor goes all the way to the bottom.
Now, build your first layer. First noodles, then spread some sauce, then sprinkle on some sausage
Then comes the cheese. My favorite is mozzarella. I had already cooked my sausage and noodles when I realized we were out of mozzarella. So, colby jack it is. 🙂
Next, build your second layer (this is the “ricotta” layer). More noodles!
More sauce! I buy the cheapest I can find, but use whatever marinara sauce you like. You can change the flavor a lot with the type of sauce you use.
Ricotta! Scoop it out, and dot it all over the lasagna.
Spread it! I don’t try to mix the ricotta in the sauce, but it happens. And, I think it makes it tasty, though the layer looks somewhat less appealing.
Sausage! Mmmm… sausage…
Time for your final layer. First noodles, then sauce, then sausage, then shredded cheese. (You probably don’t need these pictures, but they were fun to take, so here they are.) 🙂
This is the tippy top of your lasagna. Time to dress it up with some shredded Parmesan. I don’t recommend grated, although it would probably work. Freshly shredded (at home) is best, but pre-shredded works well, too.
If you’re freezing one, cover that pan with plastic wrap.
Cover it with aluminum foil and label it with instructions for reheating. Then, pop it in your freezer! This is good for about 3 months from the date of freezing.
I wish I could show you gorgeous pictures of this baked lasagna. It really was good. The night I made this, we were watching friends’ kids, so we had six kids (all five and under) to feed. I got absorbed in who had finished their green beans and whether anyone still needed a sippy cup of milk. Right then, the picture didn’t seem so important. 🙂
Lasagna My Way (makes two 9×13 pans)
- 1 lb sausage
- 16 oz lasagna noodles (about 18 noodles)
- two (24 oz) cans or jars marinara sauce
- 8 oz shredded mozzarella (or whatever cheese you have)
- 15 oz ricotta cheese
- 3-5 oz shredded Parmesan cheese (enough for a sprinkling over the top of each pan)
- Brown the sausage and drain on a plate lined with paper towels.
- Cook lasagna noodles according to the directions on the package. (Add in a small splash of oil to prevent sticking.) Drain noodles and rinse with cold water. Lay out on a plate for easy assembly.
- Lightly oil two 9×13 pans (or spray with non-stick spray). Spread a small amount of sauce on the bottom of each pan.
- Layer ingredients in pan as follows:
- Layer 1: Noodles, sauce, sausage, shredded cheese.
- Layer 2: Noodles, sauce, ricotta cheese, sausage, shredded cheese.
- Layer 3: Noodles, sauce, sausage, shredded cheese, shredded Parmesan.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until hot throughout.