Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Paging Garfield: Sausage and Mushroom Lasagna

Mmmm, lasagna. The only thing I knew about lasagna growing up is that my favorite Saturday morning cartoon character, Garfield, could toss back entire pans of it. Strangely enough, I don't think I ever actually ate lasagna until I was a teenager. It's really, really good though, as I'm sure you know.

It also doesn't photograph well. Oh wait, that's -me- who doesn't photograph well.

It doesn't take all day to make, either. I was able to start the sauce from scratch at 4:00 and was eating by around 6. No, I didn't roll my own pasta or anything, but I made sauce from scratch like I always do, so don't you judge me.

The recipe below is for a more saucy lasagna - I didn't end up making enough sauce, thinking that some tomato sauce I'd made recently was still in the fridge and I would integrate it all. Oh no, that was all gone. Ah, well.

Oh, and since I'm on a budgeting kick, I tallied up exactly how much this meal cost - $20.18 total, or $1.68 a serving - and that's assuming that you buy canned tomatoes and use italian sausage. You could easily add spinach to the ricotta and double the mushrooms in the sauce and still come out with a killer vegetarian lasagna, and it'd be even cheaper.

Sausage and Mushroom Lasagna

  • 2 quarts canned tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp oregano
  • 2 tbsp basil
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seed
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 6 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 package italian sausage
  • 2 lbs lasagna noodles (avoid the no-boil kind)
  • 1 32 oz package ricotta cheese
  • 8 ozs mozzarella cheese
  • 2 oz parmesan cheese

Simmer tomatoes and spices over medium heat until spices are well integrated, then puree with an immersion blender. Add mushrooms and onions and continue to simmer. In a separate skillet, cook italian sausage thoroughly, then add to the sauce.
Boil noodles for about 10 minutes, or until softened; drain and rinse. Put a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a 13x9" pan, then add a layer of noodles. Spread ricotta cheese over the noodles and sprinkle parmesan over the top, then add another layer of noodles. Add the majority of the sauce, especially the meat and mushrooms. Add another layer of noodles and spread remaining sauce over the top, then top with mozzarella cheese.
Cover with foil and bake at 400 for 30-40 minutes, then remove foil and cook another 10-15 minutes. If using fresh mozzarella, you might need to dab away excess moisture with a paper towel after removing the foil. Serves 12.

Total prep/cook time: 2 hours
Happiness rating: 8.5/10

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