This meal was suppose to round out “Italian Week”, but after eating Sunday Sauce, and Chicken with Olives and Peppers, and Chicken Marsala, oh, and a Nahunta ham… I just couldn’t do it. I needed a break from the heavy meals.
But this week I started bootcamp. And I have to get up at 5:00AM. And I don’t really feel like cooking dinner after being up for 13 hours. And I don’t want to waste the two hours I have to relax (before going to be at 8:00PM) cooking. And I need comfort food. Bad.
My mama gave me this recipe some years back. It’s so easy – you set it, and forget it. When you come home from a long day at work, voila!, dinner is served.
I will warn you though: Get a spoon. The lasagna does not look like the photograph above when you first serve it hot, straight outta the crockpot. It looks like the image at the bottom of this page. (No amount of parsley garnish could’ve saved that photo.) A pile of cheese and sausagey sauce and noodles. Delicious? Yes. Photogenic? No. The second day though, after it’s sat in the fridge all night, it sits up, reheats, (and photographs) quite nicely. (If I do say so myself.)
-1lb sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
-1/2lb Sicilian sausage, casing removed
-1 medium onion, chopped (red or white)
-5 8oz cans Hunt’s No Salt Added tomato sauce*
-2 8oz cans Hunts Roasted Garlic tomato sauce*
-2 tsp dried basil
-1/4 tsp salt
-splash of red wine (approximately 1/4 cup) – optional
-2 cups shredded mozzarella, divided
-16oz container low sodium cottage cheese (can sub with part skim ricotta, if you like)
– 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano (can sub with Parmesan, if you like)
-1 box uncooked lasagna noodles
*You can use all No Salt sauce, or all Roasted Garlic sauce — whatever your personal preference. You can also use larger cans of sauce — just make sure you have between 52-56 ounces total, of sauce.
Remove sausage from casings. In a large skillet over high heat, brown meat until no longer pink. Add onion and cook until soft. Add a splash of red wine to deglaze pan.
Drain sausage. Stir in basil, salt, and tomato sauce.
In a separate bowl, combine 1 cup mozzarella, cottage cheese, and pecorino romano.
If you’re prepping the night before you plan to cook, cover cheese mixture and place in the refrigerator. Pour meat sauce into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate as well.
When you’re ready to cook, start by spooning sauce into bottom of crockpot — just enough to cover. Layer with lasagna noodles – break to fit the shape of your pot if necessary. Spread 1/2 of cheese mixture on top of noodles, then top with more meat sauce. Top with another layer of pasta, cheese, and sauce — in that order. Place one more layer of noodles and meat sauce, and top with a mozzarella — just enough to cover the sauce. Cover with lid and cook on low for 4-6 hours, or until noodles are tender.
When lasagna is ready, turn off crockpot, and remove crock from base; let stand for approximately 20 minutes. This will allow the dish to cool, and “firm-up” (which will make serving much easier.) If you want to add a little more mozzarella to the top while the dish is cooling — go for it. :0)
Slice portion sizes and serve. I recommend serving with a nice greens salad tossed with balsamic vinaigrette.
- In cheese production, cottage cheese is made from curd byproduct; ricotta is made from whey byproduct
- Ricotta cheese is said to have a lighter, grainier texture
- Cottage cheese is said to have a lumpier texture (although there are small curd cottage cheeses)
- Both are “fresh” cheeses, which means they have not been aged