I don’t make lasagna that often. I think it has to do with the fact that my mom’s lasagna recipe seemed like a lot of work. Boiling noodles, meh. Twelve layers? Perhaps for a party. Hours of prep time to match the hour of cooking? No thanks. Then I stumbled on the key to success: an easy lasagna recipe worth writing home about, and it all has to do with a few shortcuts here and there that will help you maintain sanity without sacrificing flavor because all your garlic and herb flavorings. One secret is mixing pesto directly into your ricotta mixture to give it some added oomph without a lot of extra steps.
An Easy Lasagna Recipe
1 pound Italian sausage (I used an all-natural chicken sausage)
3 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
1 cup small curd cottage cheese
1/2 cup basil pesto (I used the frozen pesto I had from last fall, but this can also be purchased)
1 egg, beaten
2 cups mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
4 cups tomato sauce (can you store-bought or homemade canned)
9-ounce box Barilla No-Boil Lasagne or 16-ounce box lasagna noodles soaked in hot water for 15 minutes and then drained)
Start by browning the sausage over medium to medium-high heat in a large skillet. Set aside. Mix together ricotta, cottage cheese, pesto and egg and set aside. In a separate bowl, mix together Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Time to build the lasagna:
1. In a 9×13″ baking dish, spread 1 cup of tomato sauce. Layer 4 no-boil lasagna noodles or enough soaked lasagna noodles to cover.
2. Spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture over the noodles. Top with half of the browned sausage, layer on half the cheese mixture and follow with 1 cup of sauce.
3. Layer four more lasagna noodles start, 1/3 of the ricotta mixture and 1 cup of sauce.
4. Layer four more lasagna noodles, the remaining ricotta mixture and meat and 1 more cup of sauce.
5. Layer four lasagna noodles, the remaining cup of sauce and the remaining cheese. You’re ready to bake!
Tent your pan with tinfoil and place in the oven. Cook for 40 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for 10 more minutes. Remove the lasagna from the oven and allow to sit 15 minutes before serving.
Makes 12 servings.