I made two lasagnas when I was in Texas last month. One large one for the whole family and one small one for Will’s freezer.
They weren’t very good.
I could blame my failure on taking a shortcut and using jars of Paul Newman’s pasta sauce, but even with my own homemade sauce last summer’s lasagnas were not great.
About fifty years ago my father asked an Italian friend how to make lasagna. He went to her house and they made it together. A handful of this, a palmful of that, a spoonful, etc….and my father wrote it all down and came home with a masterpiece. And my mother and I learned how to copy his success.
Enter “no bake” lasagna noodles. A wonderful invention, but the brands I’ve used in the last couple of years have not been good. And the amount of sauce needed ends up being a guessing game. My lasagnas are too dry or too juicy.
Yesterday I made the Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa) recipe. The difference? She used hot Italian sausage (I use half hot, half sweet) and a ricotta cheese mixed with goat cheese. I chopped up fresh parsley, too. Her sauce ended up being thick and just enough to cover the sausage. She also required fresh mozzarella instead of the shredded cheese I always use.
The biggest change? She uses lasagna noodles, but instead of boiling them to cook, she suggests putting them in a bowl of very hot tap water for 20 minutes. What a great tip!!!
The verdict: Very good.
I’m not giving this an A+ because I thought the sausage was too spicy and overwhelmed the other flavors. I will definitely make this recipe again but I will use sweet sausage and see what that is like. I will also eliminate the salt in the sauce.
You can also use turkey sausage.
And next time, if we are still in Covid Prison, I will halve the recipe instead of making a 9×13 pan.
Oh, how I wish someone was coming over for dinner!
Here’s the link if you want to check it out: