Pasta Risotto & You

By Nancy Caivano


Lasagne with Sausage
and Broccoli Rabe

Serves 8


1 lb lasagne
1/2 cup packed dried tomatoes (not in oil)
1-1/4 cups boiling water
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
2 onions, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
   (or 1 tbsp jar chopped garlic)
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
2 lb Italian sausage, casing removed
   (hot or sweet, your preference)
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 cup milk
1 lb broccoli rabe, washed well, stems
   discarded, leaves chopped
   (should yield about 9 cups)
8 oz mozzarella, grated
3/4 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese (or Parmesan)
8 oz provolone cheese, grated
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/4 cup basil, chopped
Tomato Sauce


Heat oven to 375 degree F. Spray a large baking pan well with cooking spray.

Cook lasagne in a large pot of boiling salted water until only a bit more than halfway done (about 5-6 minutes according to package). Drain and rinse under cold water to stop cooking. Toss with a minimal amount of olive oil to keep from sticking.

In small bowl soak tomatoes in boiling water for 30 minutes, then drain in a strainer set over a bowl, reserving liquid. Finely chop tomatoes.

Heat 2-tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and add onion, garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook until garlic just begins to brown. Add sausage, breaking up large pieces and cook until well browned. Drain off excess fat.

In a medium saucepan, make a roux: melt butter over medium-low heat, and whisk in flour until smooth. Cook roux, whisking, 3 minutes. Add reserved soaking liquid and milk, in a stream, whisking constantly. Season with salt and pepper and simmer, whisking occasionally, about 5 minutes or until thick. Stir in chopped tomatoes.

In same skillet, heat remaining 2-tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat until hot, and add broccoli rabe. Sauté, stirring until wilted. Add 1/4-cup water and simmer, covered partially until broccoli rabe is crisp-tender and almost all liquid is evaporated, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat. Mix broccoli rabe with sausage mixture.

In a large bowl, combine mozzarella, Romano and provolone. In a small bowl, combine parsley and basil. If you are making the tomato sauce ahead of time, make sure it is hot.

Pour 1 cup white sauce (milk-based sauce made above) into bottom of baking pan. Cover with a layer of lasagne. Add 1/3 of broccoli rabe mixture. Then add 1 cup tomato sauce, 1/4 cheese mixture, and 1/4 of herbs. Add another layer of lasagne, and make 2 more layers: white sauce, broccoli rabe mix, tomato sauce, cheese, herbs. End with a pasta layer and you should have some cheese and herbs left. Top the pasta layer first with white sauce then with tomato. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and herbs.

Cover dish tightly with foil, and bake in oven 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake 20 minutes more, until top is golden brown and bubbling. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.


Tomato Sauce

Makes about 6 cups


3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
10 cloves garlic, chopped
   (or 2 tbsp jar chopped garlic)
2 carrots, finely chopped
Two 28-oz cans crushed tomatoes
One 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)


In a large stockpot, heat olive oil on medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic and carrots, 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 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes, add parsley and basil and cook 15 minutes more.


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This page created February 1999