Ah, lasagna… Quite possibly my favorite comfort food, lasagna was one of the first dishes I learned to master post-college. I experimented with many different combinations of ingredients as the seasons changed, but Classic Lasagna (recipe below) layered with meat sauce and ricotta cheese filling was always my favorite.
I think the reason I mastered lasagna first was because it is the perfect dish for entertaining, which I loved-and still love-to do. A single pan makes enough to entertain several friends (and who doesn't love Italian food?), it can be made in advance and leftovers are a beautiful thing. Once the lasagna has cooled, individually wrap pieces in foil then freeze them in an airtight container. You can defrost just the number of pieces you want-talk about the perfect fast food for singles or couples!
Looking for something a little less traditional? Try Caramelized Onion Lasagna, which gets intense flavor from blue cheese, or Squash & Leek Lasagna, full of butternut squash, leeks, pine nuts and Parmigiano-Reggiano. If making an entire pan of lasagna seems daunting, try our vegetarian Lasagna Rolls or one of our yummy comfort-food recipes.
Active time: 1 hour | Total: 2 hours
To make ahead: Prepare through Step 5. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw before baking.
1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 ounces hot or sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
2 onions, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
12 ounces mushrooms, wiped clean and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup dry red wine
2 28-ounce cans plum tomatoes, drained and chopped
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil), slivered
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
Pasta & Cheese Filling
12 whole-wheat lasagna noodles (12 ounces)
2 cups nonfat ricotta cheese
1/8 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Ground nutmeg to taste
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1. To prepare meat sauce: Heat oil in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook, breaking up clumps, until browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add onions and carrot; cook, stirring, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until mushroom liquid evaporates, 4 to 6 minutes.
2. Stir in wine, plum tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, oregano, basil, thyme and crushed red pepper. Bring to a simmer; reduce heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce is very thick, 30 to 45 minutes more. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
3. To prepare filling & assemble lasagna: Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
4. Cook noodles until just tender, about 10 minutes or according to package directions. Drain, then cool by plunging noodles into a large bowl of ice-cold water. Lay the noodles out on kitchen towels.
5. Season ricotta with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Spread about 1 1/2 cups meat sauce in the prepared pan. Layer 3 noodles on top. Spread another 1 cup sauce over the noodles. Dot about 2/3 cup ricotta over the sauce, then sprinkle with 1/4 cup mozzarella and 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Continue layering the noodles, sauce and cheeses, finishing with the sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan. Sprinkle with parsley; cover with foil.
6. Bake the lasagna until the sauce is bubbling, 35 to 40 minutes. Uncover and bake until golden, 5 to 10 minutes more. Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting.
Makes 8 servings.
Per serving: 357 calories; 8 g fat (3 g sat, 2 g mono); 32 mg cholesterol; 46 g carbohydrate; 22 g protein; 9 g fiber; 698 mg sodium; 396 mg potassium. Nutrition bonus: Fiber (36% daily value), Calcium (30% dv).
By Carolyn Malcoun
When associate editor Carolyn Malcoun came to Vermont to attend New England Culinary Institute, she knew she didn't want to work in a restaurant but knew that she wanted to do something in the food industry. Luckily she discovered EatingWell, where she's able to combine her love of food and writing.
Related Links from EatingWell:
- Get healthy recipes, health tips, food news and more at EatingWell.com.
- Find recipes for your favorite comfort foods in EatingWell's new book, Comfort Foods Made Healthy.
- Sign up for EatingWell's free weekly newsletters and get healthy recipes, diet tips and nutrition news delivered right to your inbox.
- Get a free trial issue when you subscribe to EatingWell Magazine.