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.
- 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
- Heat oil in heavy large pot over high heat.
- Add mushrooms, onion, and sauté until vegetables begin to soften, about 8 minutes.
- 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.
- Add wine, and cook over medium high heat until almost all liquid evaporates, scraping up browned bits as it cooks.
- Drain the porcini mushrooms, reserving the liquid, coarsely chop, and add to the sausage mixture.
- 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.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for 30 to 40 minutes until thick.
- In a bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, rest of the basil, one cup of mozzarella, and one cup of the parmesan cheese.
- Pre-boil lasagna noodles and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 375 degress F.
- In a 13 X 9 inch lasagna pan, spread about a cup of the sauce on the bottom.
- Place noodles over sauce, forming 1 layer (noodles may overlap slightly), then cover the noodles with sauce.
- Place another layer of noodles, and cover this with sauce and half the mozzarella and parmesan leftover.
- Add another layer of noodles, then spread these noodles with the ricotta cheese mixture.
- Cover the ricotta with another layer of noodles, then more sauce.
- Finish with one more layer of noodles and then sauce, and finish by sprinkling the remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese on top.
- Cover with foil, tenting in center to prevent cheese from touching foil, and bake lasagna 45 minutes.
- Remove the foil, and bake until the lasagna is golden brown and bubbly, about 15 minutes more.
- Let the lasagna sit 15 minutes before cutting.