Y’all, I’ve been in a rut. An everything-I-make-is-awful kind of rut. The pizza’s underbaked, or the chicken’s under-seasoned, the recipe is just blah, or I burn the veggies. This has been going on for weeks, and it’s definitely shown on the blog – when I screw up nearly everything I attempt to make, it becomes very hard to put anything here for you to try. So anyway, enough “woe is me” — the good news is that I figured out how to fix it!
I borrowed all of my mom’s Ina cookbooks Thursday, and went through them all, making notes of recipes that looked good. I tried to look for things that were a little different than what I usually make, along with the recipes that hit me upside the head as Duh Recipes. And then, I decided to just dive in head first and start making some of them.
Of course, I started with a Made For Us recipe; I was not ready to jump off the deep end quite yet. Not only has Matt been requesting lasagna for awhile now, but this recipe came highly recommended from Christina and Kerri — I knew I was starting out with a good one. With my fingers crossed, I got to work. And, y’all, I’M BACK. Thank goodness that I not only have my confidence back, but that I didn’t have to throw yet another meal in the trash.
Ina’s Lasagna with Italian Sausage.
adapted minimally via Barefoot Contessa: Family Style
2 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1.5 pounds sweet italian sausage, casings removed
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1/4 c. chopped italian parsley, divided
1/4 c. chopped fresh basil
1/2 pound lasagna noodles
16 oz. ricotta cheese
4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
1 cup Parmesan, grated + 1/4 cup for sprinkling on top
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
8 oz. fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat, until soft. Add sausage, breaking up with the back of a wooden spoon, cooking 10-12 minutes or until no longer pink. Add garlic and cook another minute, until fragrant. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 tbsp. of parsley, basil, 1.5 tsp of salt, and 1/2 tsp. of pepper. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until thickened.
Meanwhile, fill a large casserole dish with the hottest water from the tap. Lay lasagna noodles in the water, and allow to soak for 20 minutes. Drain.
In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, goat cheese, 1 cup of Parmesan, the egg and the remaining 2 tbsp. of parsley. Set aside.
In the bottom of a 9×13 dish, ladle 1/3 of the sauce. Add the layers: half the pasta, half the mozzarella, half the ricotta, 1/3 of the sauce. Repeat layers, finishing with remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan (or more, I won’t judge). Bake lasagna for 30 minutes, or until sauce is bubbling.
This makes 8 servings, and reheats so well. You will love it.
Next up? BANANA CAKE.