Friday, May 31, 2013

Paleo Spicy Italian Sausage Lasagna


IF MARIO BATALI AND GRANDMA HAD A BABY...

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound pork sausage
1 medium yellow minced onion
4 minced cloves garlic
1 (28 ounce) can diced organic tomatoes
1 tsp tomato paste
15oz jar Spicy Arrabiata tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
Generous pinch dried basil leaves
Generous pinch Red Cayenne Pepper
Generous pinch Piment d’Espelette (French cayenne)
2 generous pinches Italian seasoning (or Herbs de Provence)
1 heaping tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
lasagna noodles (or 4 medium sized Zucchini)
16 ounces ricotta cheese
2 eggs
1 bag shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil

TOOLS REQUIRED:

Dutch oven or deep skillet and baking dish
Mandolin preferred if cooking with zucchini                          

INSTRUCTIONS:

1.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
2.
In a Dutch oven or deep skillet, sweat the onions and garlic in the olive oil on medium heat for 10 minutes stirring frequently.  Add the sausage and turn up the heat to medium high and brown until cooked through about 10 more minutes. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with herbs, pepper, and salt.  Simmer, uncovered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally until the sauce has thickened and reduced about a quarter of the way down.  At this point, taste test to make sure the heat level is satisfactory (re: INSANELY DELICIOUS)
3.
In a separate bowl combine ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, and two eggs.  Add a healthy pinch of salt and black pepper and stir until creamy and smooth.
4.


5.
OPTIONAL - If using zucchini for noodles, slice zucchini on a mandolin if possible on the thickest setting or cut lengthwise slightly thicker than your average lasagna noodle.

To assemble, spread a thin layer of meat sauce in the bottom of a baking dish. Arrange noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Spoon a layer of meat sauce over the cheese. Repeat layers ending with noodles on top (or meat sauce if there’s enough left over for an additional meat layer), and top with remaining Parmesan cheese.

Should look like this...



6.
Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes.

SERVES 6

Voila!



Ohhhh Italian food!  So comforting.  So simple.  So classic.  So delicioso.  I've decided to share this recipe with you all first and foremost for a couple of reasons.  I make this dish in many varieties and it's fast, easy - a no brainer, really.  And ultimately, it's my best crowd pleaser.  So much so that I have already handed this recipe out to some close friends who actually took the time to make it themselves and enjoy it on their own!  Which means you can do it too. 

There are so many things that I want to tell you about the simplest dish in the world (coincidental, no?).  First is the clean up.  1 pot, 1 wooden spoon, 1 bowl, 1 baking dish, 1 turner... and that's all my friends.  That is ALL SHE WROTE.  Second is that unlike baking, measurements for this recipe are not set in stone.  This is the combination that I love most but I like my lasagna on the spicy side.  You are entitled to have traditional lasagna.  Or have spinach in your lasagna.  Or add bacon.  I mean... now that's a stellar idea, n'est-ce pas?  The options on this thing make it pliable for any dietary need or desire.  Can't eat pork?  Use a pound of grass fed beef, lamb, veal, turkey, oh my gosh.  Want to add veggies?  Toss them in at the saucing step and let simmer.  Add more garlic.  Play around with different tomato sauces. Add chipotle spice and cilantro to give it a Mexican flare.  Remove all spicy-ness and add tons of basil and parsley then layer with freshly sliced Roma tomatoes and top with buffalo mozzarella to amp up the Italian anty.  Go meatless (but why would you, really? Though, in full disclosure, I've made this recipe with zucchini noodles and spinach completely vegetarian for a dear friend of mine and she ate the entire 9x9 pan all by herself - true story, friends).  True Paleo?  Go cheese-less and 1/3 up the sauce and noodles.  Don't have any spices on hand?  Buy pre-made spicy sausage at the store (*ahem... it's what I usually do anyway...).  And really, I'm just clawing at the surface.  There are so many possibilities on this thing.  

Give it a shot.  

But then there are leftovers!  Honestly, we're getting to the true root of why I love this thing so much.  I mean, I'm a single gal with selfish priorities.  Cooking - definitely not the thing I tend to fill my time with.  (Thinking about food on the other hand...).  I make this on, say, Sunday evening.  It's 6-8 portions depending on how thick I cut my slices.  That's 8 meals I can get out of this thing.  So 1 for Sunday dinner.  Refrigerate 2 or 3 more (you don't want to overdo it or else you'll never want to eat it ever again no matter how insanely delicious).  And freeze the rest.  Voila!  Three future meals for the week taken care of.  The frozen pieces?  Well, they'll last MONTHS.  I even like to individually bag em to take the pressure off even more.  Wrap the pieces in tinfoil and stick in a plastic baggie.  Sharpie on the outside what deliciousness resides inside and you're good to go.  Wait a few weeks and pull them out of the freezer and put them in the fridge the night before you have a hankering again.  FRESH, like it just popped out of the oven.  NOM.

The last thing is the noodle choice.  I like zucchini just fine.  Really, I do.  I'll be sharing a crisp cold summer zucchini noodle dish in the near future (it's AMAZING, I promise).  But sometimes, you just want to be lazy.  That's where Cappello's comes in.  They don't sponsor me or give me free stuff (hint hint nudge nudge).  I legitimately just love them.  They make 3 different noodle varieties (although the Gnocchi is just shy of being completely Paleo) and I order 4 packs of the lasagna and fettuccine noodles every few months.  The best part is that the noodles are made from nut flours (instead of rice or corn... that gluten free but not Paleo crap that makes me want to scream).  You can cook it straight from the freezer and it cooks like fresh pasta - in a minute or two.  Not to mention taste.  DIVINE.  Perfectly al dente, just like my nonexistent Italian grandma used to make.  It really takes to sauce nicely too.  I use Cappello's lasagna noodles in this dish.  I think it's worth it. 

If you have any awesome lasagna ideas you think I should try, tell me about it in the comments.  I love commentary.  Almost as much as I love Spicy Italian Sausage Lasagna.  

Reactions:

1 comments:

  1. Mmmmm...thx for the recipe. This was exactly the kind of thing I was looking for...but u KNW I won't be following it exactly. ;)

    ReplyDelete

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