Serve lasagna in the summer? You bet! Tender noodles sandwich layers of flavorful tomato-turkey sauce and creamy three-cheese blend. Fresh herbs and mozzarella add a bright flavor and a classic texture. Just add a crisp green salad and a glass of wine and you have a perfect summer meal.
Lasagna with Turkey Sausage
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1½ pounds sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes in tomato purée
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound lasagna noodles
15 ounces ricotta cheese
3 to 4 ounces creamy goat cheese, crumbled
1 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
1 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large (10 to 12-inch) skillet. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat, until translucent.
3. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
4. Add the sausage and cook over medium-low heat, breaking it up with a fork, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until no longer pink.
5. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, the basil, 1½ teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Simmer uncovered, over medium-low heat, for 15 to 20 minutes, until thickened.
6. Meanwhile fill a large bowl with the hottest tap water. Add the noodles and allow them to sit in the water for 20 minutes. Drain.
7. In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, goat cheese, 1 cup of Parmesan, the egg, the remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.
8. Ladle 1/3 of the sauce into a 9 by 12 by 2-inch rectangular baking dish, spreading the sauce over the bottom of the dish. Then add the layers as follows: half the pasta, half the mozzarella, half the ricotta, and one third of the sauce. Add the rest of the pasta, mozzarella, ricotta, and finally, sauce.
9. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of Parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling.
Yields: 8 servings
1. I used 2 pounds of turkey sausage and 1 pound of ground turkey meat for a heartier sauce.
2. I also added half of a jar of spaghetti sauce that I had in the refrigerator.
3. I purchased a chub of pre-sliced fresh mozzarella. In order to distribute it more evenly, I sliced each round in half (half-moons).
4. I put my 9 by 13-inch baking pan on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet before putting it in the oven. I’m glad I did, because the bubbling lasagna overflowed.
5. To aid preparation, the sauce can be made the night before serving and reheated a bit before layering the lasagna the following day.