Pasta, Risotto and You

By Nancy Caivano


Lasagne with Sausage, Spinach
and Tomato Cream Sauce

Serves 8-10



For sauce:
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
10 cloves garlic, chopped (or 2 tbsp jar chopped garlic)
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 (28-oz) cans crushed tomatoes
   (or substitute about 2-lb ripe tomatoes)
1 (28-oz) can tomato purée
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup parsley, chopped (or 2 tbsp dried)
3 tbsp basil, julienne (or 2 tsp dry)
3/4 cup heavy cream
Salt and Pepper

1 lb lasagne

For filling:
2 tbsp olive oil
5 cloves garlic, chopped (1 tbsp jar chopped garlic)
2 lb Italian sausage, casing removed
   (hot or sweet, your preference)
8-oz fresh spinach, stems removed, leaves washed well
2 lb ricotta
1 egg
1-1/2 cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese (or Parmesan)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 lb mozzarella, grated
2 tbsp parsley, chopped for top of lasagne



Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a large baking pan well with cooking spray.

In a large stockpot, heat 3 tbsp olive oil on medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic and carrot, and sauté until onion begins to brown. Add tomatoes and purée. Stir well. Add wine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, add parsley and basil to sauce, and cook 15 minutes more. Working in batches, purée sauce in blender; return to same pot. (If you have a handblender, you can use it right in the pot). Add cream and simmer 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Meanwhile, cook lasagne in a large pot of boiling, salted water until halfway cooked according to package directions. Drain under cold running water to stop cooking. Drain well, and toss with a small amount of olive oil to prevent sticking.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté until garlic just turns golden brown. Add sausage and cook, breaking up large pieces. Cook until very well browned. Drain off excess fat and set aside.

Blanch spinach in a pot of boiling, salted water just until wilted, about 2 minutes. Drain under cold running water to stop cooking, and squeeze as much water from the spinach as you can. Set aside.

Combine ricotta, spinach, egg, 1 cup of grated Romano, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Season well with salt and pepper.

Combine mozzarella with remaining 1/2 cup grated Romano cheese. Set aside.

Pour about 1 cup of sauce into bottom of prepared pan. Cover with a layer of lasagne, then ricotta, then sausage, then more sauce then mozzarella. Repeat layers, ending with a layer of lasagne. Top with remaining sauce, remaining mozzarella and some parsley.

Bake lasagne, uncovered for 40 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before cutting.

You can make this ahead of time, and refrigerate for up to 2 days, or for about 2 weeks frozen. To freeze, cover with both plastic wrap and foil. To bake, remove plastic wrap, keep covered with foil and bake in a low oven (250 degrees F) until a knife goes through easily. Then bake as above.


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This page created December 2000

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