I Eat La.: Comfort friends, family with fresh lasagna _lowres

Photo by TERESA B. DAY -- Fresh Lasagna

ADVOCATE-TESTED RECIPE

Fresh Lasagna

Makes 2 (9 x 12-inch) casserole pans. Recipe is by Teresa B. Day. Great to make in foil pans when bringing to friends or family.

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups fresh mushrooms, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

1 large bell pepper, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 pounds mild or sweet Italian sausage

2 cups ricotta cheese

1 tablespoon fresh basil, minced

1 tablespoon fresh oregano, minced

1½ teaspoons fresh thyme, minced

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

8 cups Italian blend shredded cheese, divided

4 cups roasted tomato sauce

1 box lasagna noodles

1. Preheat oven to 425 F.

2. Grease or butter two casserole pans.

3. In a large skillet, saute mushrooms, onion, bell pepper and garlic in oil until mushrooms are tender.

4. Brown sausage in a separate skillet or Dutch oven. Drain and return to the pot.

5. In a large mixing bowl, stir together ricotta cheese, herbs, salt, pepper and 2 cups of shredded cheese.

5. Combine cooked vegetables with sausage then stir in sauce.

6. Cook pasta in boiling water according to the package directions. Drain on a paper towel-lined cutting board. Gently blot with paper towels.

7. Spread a little of the meat mixture in the bottom of each pan. Layer pasta, overlapping edges, followed by ricotta cheese mixture, meat mixture and one cup shredded cheese in each pan. Repeat layers, finishing with 2 cups of shredded cheese on top of each pan.

8. Bake for 20 minutes covered and 15 minutes uncovered. If frozen, bake for 45 minutes covered (if it’s still cool in the center, cook for 10 minutes more) and 20 minutes uncovered.