To finish up a month of favorite family dishes, I thought I'd share something with quite a bit of sentimental value to me: my mother-in-law's lasagna recipe (with a few of my own variations). About seven years ago, my husband and I had just started dating. One night he invited me to his house and told me he'd cook for me. When I arrived, the glorious aroma of Italian cooking greeted me and I was thrilled! Years later, I discovered that he'd called his mom earlier in the day, told her he was cooking for a girl and "needed to impress her" and she'd emailed him this recipe right away! Fast forward to Christmas last year, when my husband asked if we could have lasagna for Christmas dinner. Already planning a steak dish (we don't do a big turkey or ham "Thanksgiving 2.0" meal for Christmas), I told him I'd make lasagna for Christmas Eve dinner, and I think it might be a new tradition for us...unless of course my mama's with us, since Christmas Eve is her birthday, so then she'd get her choice of menus! Anyway, enjoy this hearty meal. Feed it to just your family...or to your family plus a few! Eat it right away, freeze it, or divide in half and eat some now and some later!
2 pounds Spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 23-ounce jars of your favorite spaghetti sauce (I use Prego Marinara)
1-2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
2 pounds light Ricotta cheese
3 2-cup bags reduced fat shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 16-ounce whole wheat lasagna noodles
1 cup shredded parmesan
Preheat oven to 350.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions and drain.
Meanwhile, heat a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and break up meat as it browns. Continue to saute until cooked through. Drain, then return cooked sausage to skillet along with garlic and sauce. Bring to a boil. Allow to cook until liquid is reduced to a thick consistency.
In a mixing bowl, combine 1 package shredded mozzarella, ricotta, egg, and parsley until thoroughly mixed.
Ladle about 1 1/2 to 2 cups meat sauce into a 9x13-inch baking dish. Then layer 3 (or 4 depending on pan shape) noodles, 1/3 ricotta cheese mixture, and 1/3 remaining meat sauce. Repeat twice. Top with remaining Mozarella and parmesan cheese.
Bake until lasagna is golden on top and cheese is bubbling, about an hour.
It goes without saying that this goes great with a crispy Caesar salad, roasted clove garlic bread, and a full-bodied red wine!