Italian Sausage Lasagne

This is my first attempt at making other than a spinach lasagne I got from Govinda’s. I prefer a deeper pan than the 13x9 and like to stack the lasagne higher, but in that case, you must cool it a lot longer or it will slide apart when serving. I chose one of those 13x9 pans that are deeper than 2" you find in aluminum at the store—the throw-away kind.

Lasagne is a crowd pleaser and this one is no exception. Of course, you can substitute other meats for the sausage, but the sausage is very good.

Yield

One 13x9x2"+ dish enough for 12. You may flow over into a second dish, like 9x9.

Ingredients

2 lb bulk Italian sausage (remove casings before cooking)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
shallot, minced (optional)
8 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped
20 oz canned tomatoes
2 cans tomato paste
2 tsp sugar
4 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried oregano
salt
1 cup marsala or white wine
1 cup chicken stock
 
16 oz lasagne noodles, boiled for 10 minutes per package instructions
 
3 cups ricotta cheese
2 cups cottage cheese, puréed
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
4 eggs
salt
fresh-ground pepper
4 tbsp dried parsley flakes
3 lb mozzarella cheese, shredded or thinly sliced

Preparation

1. Brown sausage slowly, then remove from pan using tongs. Cool and pulse a few times in food processor (do not mince, however). Result should be M&M-sized morsels.

2. Meanwhile, drain pan leaving fond. Add onion and clarify, then minced garlic, stir for 1 minute while cooking and finally add in tomatoes and tomato paste, sugar, basil, oregano, salt and wine. Simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, adding chicken stock if too thick. Set aside.

If making dinner on Sunday, you can put the sautéed onion, garlic and sausage into a crock pot on low. Add in all the other ingredients from step 2, put the lid on and go to church. It will be ready to continue afterward. It may also be a good place to split preparation over night for the next day.

3. In a bowl, combine ricotta and cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, parsley, eggs, salt and pepper.

4. Drizzle olive oil on the bottom of the baking pan. Place a layer of noodles. Cover with a thin layer of mozzarella cheese then spoon ¼ of ricotta mixture over mozzarella. Spoon ¼ meat sauce over the cheese. Repeat for three or four layers. When not possible, the fourth layer becomes two or three layers in the overflow dish. (If you have more ingredients than needed for your dish, note this for next time.

5. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes at 375°. Open oven door and let it sit for ½ hour until serving. If baking in a deep pan, remove from oven and cool for 1 hour.