No-Ricotta Lasagna

This is an evolution of an old family recipe for lasagna.  The key twist is that it skips the typical ricotta-based cheese mixture, and instead uses a bechamel sauce coupled with Fontina and Mozzarella cheeses. The result is a creamier lasagna with nice  sausage slices to add some zing.

This recipe makes 2 large pans of lasagna, enough for many people…

Red Sauce

  • 2 large yellow Onions, diced
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 T salt
  • 1 T cracked pepper
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 4 28 oz cans Crushed tomatoes (San Marzano)
  • 2 lbs Spicy Italian sausage (Turkey or pork)
  • Dried herbs – Oregano, Basil, Parsley

Brown the sausage, remove and drain, but leave bits on pan bottom.  Saute the onions and garlic in the same pan.  Add tomatoes and herbs, salt, pepper, and sugar.  When sausages have cooled, slice thinly and add to sauce.  Simmer to incorporate flavors for 2 hours or more.

Bechamel Sauce

  • 2 cups Butter
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1-2 quarts lowfat Milk
  • Pinch of nutmeg

Make a light roux by melting butter then gradually adding in flour.  After whisking for a few minutes, begin adding milk, continuing to whisk until it is a consistent texture.  Add nutmeg at end to season.

Other components

  • 2 lbs Fontina cheese, grated
  • 1.5 lbs Mozzarella Cheese, grated
  • 2/3 lb Parmesagn-Reggiano, freshly grated
  • Good lasagna noodles – I prefer the square delverde no boil type

Assembly

Spray bottom and sides of pan with Pam to make cleanup easier.  Put a little sauce on bottom, then noodles, then red sauce, a little bechamel, and fontina and mozzarella cheeses. Repeat with noodles, red sauce, béchamel and cheese.  Continue to layer, finishing with cheeses on top.  Sprinkle a little bit of the grated parmesagn to finish.

Cover with aluminum foil sprayed with Pam to keep it from sticking.  It takes a good 45-60 minutes at 375 degrees.  Let sit 15 minutes before serving.

Sausage Pizza with Arugula and Parmesagn

Spicy Sausage Pizza with “Salt and Pepper”

This is a great recipe for several reasons:
1. Homemade pizza is great, cheap, and can feed a crowd.
2. Anything with sausage is always good.
3. The peppery arugula and the sweet salty Parm-Regg make a great combo to begin with, but really comes into its own when you layer it on top of the sausage pizza.

Ingredients

  • Pizza dough – Make it yourself, or buy it from a grocery store, e.g. Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, etc. I usually cut their dough into 3 separate pieces for smaller pies with thinner crusts.
  • Red pizza sauce – I like Trader Joe’s pizza sauce.
  • Shredded Fontina Cheese – I almost always use Fontina instead of shredded mozzarella
  • Spicy Italian Sausage, crumbled and cooked
  • Fresh baby arugula leaves
  • ¼ lb fresh Parmesagn-Reggiano – shaved or thinly sliced.

Directions

Heat a pizza stone to 550° for at least 30 minutes. If you don’t have a stone, use a durable cookie sheet, and get the oven to at least 400°.

Stretch out the pizza dough to your desired size and thickness.

Drizzle with a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil, spread pizza sauce around to edges.

Top with the Fontina to your liking – don’t over do it on the cheese.

Spread sausage on top of cheese.

Cook on the stone or in the oven for 5-8 minutes, long enough to melt the cheese and brown the crust.

Remove the pie from the oven and top with arugula and shaved Parm-Regg. Slice and serve.