By admin | February 2, 2012

By: Kristin Braswell

Let’s be honest, the only thing more delicious than pasta, is pasta with cheese on it. And when it’s layered with zesty tomatoes, robust spices, and fresh herbs, well, it doesn’t get any better.  The beauty of lasagna is how easily it lends itself to bold ingredients, from hazelnut ricotta and caramelized onion, to nutmeg and butternut squash. In the winter months, it’s the perfect hearty meal.

One of my favorite plays on the dish this time of year pays tribute to spicy Italian turkey sausage, spinach, and mushrooms. To spice things up, I add a pinch of nutmeg and sprig of rosemary to the ricotta cheese. The earthiness of the rosemary combined with the sweet tone of nutmeg is a celebration of fresh ingredients. Of course, what would lasagna be without fresh basil and some good old minced garlic?

It’s a rich meal to the say the least; and one that intensifies in flavor the next day.  Do not be ashamed to eat this cold. It’s the dish that keeps on giving, in any form.

Spicy Sausage, Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna Recipe

6-8 servings

Ingredients:
9 no-boil lasagna noodles
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 pound hot Italian turkey sausages, casings removed
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 16 oz. container park-skim ricotta cheese
2 cups sliced button or crimini mushrooms
1 pound fresh mozzarella, grated
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 eggs
1 cup fresh basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon fresh parsley
1 sprig rosemary, chopped
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp of nutmeg

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a saucepan, heat crushed tomatoes, onion, garlic, bell pepper mushrooms, fresh basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Simmer for ten minutes.
  2. Remove casing from sausage and crumble into small chunks. Place in large saucepan and heat with olive oil over medium high heat; cook sausage until no longer pink, about 12 minutes.
  3. Add sauce to meat and let simmer until the flavors combine, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. In a bowl, combine ricotta, spinach, eggs, rosemary, nutmeg, parsley and 1/2 cup of Parmesan.
  5. Spread meat sauce in the bottom 9×13-inch baking dish. Top with layer of noodles, ricotta mixture, meat sauce and 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers with sauce, noodles, remaining ricotta, meat sauce, and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese. Top final layer of noodles with remaining sauce, mozzarella, and parmesan.
  6. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 50 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 5 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes.

Kristin Braswell is a food and lifestyle writer, currently developing a cooking web series set to premiere this month called “The Food.”  Follow her on Twitter @brooklynwriter1. 

Photos: Marly Hernandez

For more recipes from Kristin, follow me on Twitter (@MarcusCooks)

Directions

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