Sausage, Mushroom, & Ricotta Lasagna

Today is the last day of August and I am really looking forward to fall as this summer has been a scorcher here in Umbria so the upcoming cooler fall temperatures will be a welcome relief. I’ve always loved fall though, as I enjoy watching the trees change colors, feel the cool nip in the air, and best of all, I enjoy cooking with the myriad of fall vegetables and fruit that will soon appear in my local markets. The dishes I create in the fall also become much heartier, and though I am rushing the fall season just a bit, I was in the mood to create a fall inspired lasagna dish this past week.

Lasagna is and probably always will be my favorite pasta dish as it is so versatile, is often hearty enough to be a main course, and best of all I can prepare it ahead of time, clean up my kitchen, and simply pop it into the oven to bake just before dinner. We’ve begun to see a nice variety of different mushrooms showing up in our local grocery stores over the last week or two letting us know that fall is right around the corner, and I wanted to incorporate these amazing mushrooms into a baked pasta dish. This lasagna has sausage, mushrooms and ricotta cheese included so it really is a good fall or winter dish and is filling enough to be a main course entree.

I used a mixed wild mushroom mix in the lasagna as well as some dried porcini mushrooms that I rehydrated, but you could use any type of mushroom you prefer. Though I usually use spicy sausage as that is what we have on hand, we had some mild sausages in our freezer so I used those, but either type of sausage would be fine. I also used fresh pasta noodles in my version as I always prefer fresh egg pasta to dried when making a lasagna, but if you are short on time, use your favorite lasagna noodle whatever it might be.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2012

Sausage, Mushroom, & Ricotta Cheese Lasagna

A hearty fall inspired lasagna dish that is filling enough to be a main course entree.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 16 Ounces Fresh Chopped Mushrooms (See Note Above)
  • 1 Medium Onion, Peeled & Chopped
  • 1 Pound Italian Sausages (Spicy or Mild), Casings Removed
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, Peeled & Minced
  • 1 Cup Dry Red Wine
  • 3/4 Cup Dried Porcini Mushrooms, Soaked In 1 Cup Warm Water For 15 Minutes
  • 2 Cups Pureed Tomatoes
  • 2 Cups Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1/4 Cup Tomato Paste
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 1 Tablespoon Dried Oregano, Salt & Pepper
  • 2/3 Cup Chopped Fresh Basil (Divided In Half)
  • 1/3 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley
  • Homemade Lasagna Noodles or 1 Package Dried Lasagna Noodles
  • 1 (15 Ounce) Container Ricotta Cheese
  • 2 Cups Shredded Mozzarella
  • 2 Cups Grated Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in heavy large pot over high heat.
  2. Add mushrooms, onion, and sauté until vegetables begin to soften, about 8 minutes.
  3. Add the sausage and sauté until brown and cooked through, breaking up with back of spoon, about 5 minutes, then add the garlic and cook a minute or two until fragrant.
  4. Add wine, and cook over medium high heat until almost all liquid evaporates, scraping up browned bits as it cooks.
  5. Drain the porcini mushrooms, reserving the liquid, coarsely chop, and add to the sausage mixture.
  6. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, water, salt & pepper, half a cup of the porcini liquid, oregano, half the basil, and parsley and bring to a boil.
  7. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for 30 to 40 minutes until thick.
  8. In a bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, rest of the basil, one cup of mozzarella, and one cup of the parmesan cheese.
  9. Pre-boil lasagna noodles and set aside.
  10. Preheat oven to 375 degress F.
  11. In a 13 X 9 inch lasagna pan, spread about a cup of the sauce on the bottom.
  12. Place noodles over sauce, forming 1 layer (noodles may overlap slightly), then cover the noodles with sauce.
  13. Place another layer of noodles, and cover this with sauce and half the mozzarella and parmesan leftover.
  14. Add another layer of noodles, then spread these noodles with the ricotta cheese mixture.
  15. Cover the ricotta with another layer of noodles, then more sauce.
  16. Finish with one more layer of noodles and then sauce, and finish by sprinkling the remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese on top.
  17. Cover with foil, tenting in center to prevent cheese from touching foil, and bake lasagna 45 minutes.
  18. Remove the foil, and bake until the lasagna is golden brown and bubbly, about 15 minutes more.
  19. Let the lasagna sit 15 minutes before cutting.