This lasagna might be one of the reasons I started a food blog. Everyone needs to know about it. It holds a coveted spot in my husband’s “Top 5,” the mysterious list he keeps in his head regarding his favorite meals that I make. There’s also a “Bottom 5″ but let’s not go there today. Today is about feeling good and eating the most flavorful pasta possible.
You may be asking yourself, if this dish is so great why haven’t you heard of it until now? Well the answer is – its just too great. It gets eaten before I can take a picture. The vultures in my house see the pasta box come out and start jumping around and hugging my legs and screaming with joy and anticipation until I shove a steaming plate in front of their face.
That being said, I made this during naptime. There was sweet silence as I cracked the pasta over the skillet and I was even able to take some pictures. Adding another baby to the mix has definitely taken the mommy workload to another level, making it difficult to take pictures of food, much less make anything. I truly love doing it through and connecting with all of you through the food that I love, so I will press on, dreaming of the day that I can have a leisurely photo shoot.
If you were around the other day you’ll know that we’re avoiding meat now. This was my first time making it with Tofurkey sausage rather than ground Italian sausage. The only difference I found was that I needed a little more oil to brown the sausage. No one could tell they weren’t eating regular sausage and they happily ate it up.
1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, minced
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound mild Italian sausage or sausage substitute, such as Tofurkey
10-12 curly edged lasagna noodles, broken into 2 inch pieces
1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
8 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese
1/4 cup minced fresh basil
Pour the tomatoes and their juice into a 4 cup measuring cup. Add enough water to the tomatoes to measure 4 cups.
In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion, bell pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. If using ground sausage add it to the skillet and cook, breaking up into small pieces, until no longer pink. If using Tofurkey shaped like sausage, slice into 1/2 inch ovals before adding to the pan and browning. You may need a little more oil if using a meat substitute as it won't release any fat.
Sprinkle the noodle pieces evenly over the meat. Pour the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce over the pasta. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender, about 20 minutes. If the sauce looks dry after 15 minutes add up to 1/4 cup additional water to loosen it up.
Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the 1/2 cup Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Dot heaping tablespoons of the ricotta over the noodles. Cover the skillet and let it stand off the heat for 5 minutes.
Sprinkle with the basil and serve, topping with more Parmesan as desired.