I have a thing for spicy Italian sausage. I buy it in the bulk packages from Dominicks and freeze them, 4/5 to a bag. Usually I will make a pasta sauce with the whole links to freeze into individual dinners so that Dave and I can have a quick, filling meal after a long day at work and school. However, sometimes I am in the mood for this Lasagna. Whenever I make this for others, they always ask what that slightly different taste is…the secret is goat cheese. You mix in a 3-4 oz log of goat cheese with the typical ricotta/parm/egg mixture and it just gives it a slightly different flavor. It’s really good and I am not even the biggest fan of goat cheese overall.
Italian Sausage Lasagna (adapted from Turkey Lasagna)
1 yellow onion-chopped
2-3 garlic cloves-minced
4-5 hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1 (28oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 (6oz) can tomato paste
Basil-1 bunch, chopped
1 box lasagna noodles (you will only use 1/2 to 2/3 of the noodles)
15 oz ricotta cheese
Small goat cheese log (3-4 ozs)
1 1/2 cups of grated Parm
1 Lb Fresh Mozz, thinly sliced or grated
Preheat oven to 400F. Heat 1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet. Add the onion and cook over medium-low for about 5 mins or until translucent. Add garlic and cook for 1 more min. Add the sausage and cook while breaking it up with a fork into smaller pieces for 8-10 min or until it is no longer pink. Drain off the fat (I like to use a little spoon). Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, basil and some salt and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat for 15-20 mins, stirring occasionally, until it thickens.
In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, goat cheese, 1 cup of Parm, the egg and some salt and pepper. Really mix in the goat cheese well so that it combines with all the other flavors.
Ladle 1/3 of the sauce into a 9×12 baking dish and spread it over the bottom well. Then add the layers: pasta (add the dry pieces, don’t worry about pre-boiling them), half of the ricotta (spread it out with a spatula to make it even), half of the mozz and 1/3 of the sauce. Repeat. Sprinkle the top of the sauce with the remaining Parm. Bake for 30 mins.