I went around in circles with this recipe, not gonna post it I said, this is a dumb recipe I said. But here it is, Ricotta and Tomato Lasagna with asteroid-sized chunks of Italian sausage.
In my head, it was Cannelloni and I should have known things were going to change when I couldn’t find cannelloni pasta anywhere! This is where Google comes in really handy because cannelloni pasta was gone from the face of the earth, but manicotti tubes were everywhere.
So I bought some…mistake.
So what’s the difference apart from the ridges on the manicotti? It turns out that cannelloni is traditionally made using rolled up lasagna sheets or you can cheat and stuff the filling into manicotti tubes. This turned out to be a huge pain, so I ended up using this amazing tomato and meat sauce for lasagna instead.
Whenever I’m making any sort of pasta meat dish, I’ll buy Italian pork sausages and take out the filling because it’s already seasoned and usually tastes a whole lot better than just ground beef.
Normally I’d use a 9 x 13-inch pan for lasagna, but I couldn’t wait to use these two really cool six inch casserole pots I picked up from Crate and Barrel, I’m getting a little nerdy with my dishes. Lasagna is pretty forgiving so if you have something similar, go ahead and use them.
If you don’t, no worries just stick to the 9 x 13 pan and layer the lasagna with the sauce, pasta and Parmesan. I didn’t add a bechamel sauce to my lasagna because the ricotta cheese more than made up for the creaminess in the dish.
The picture of the sauce is before the ricotta is added. Once you add it the sauce will turn a much lighter color and taste soooo creamy.
Bake the lasagna in the oven until the top layer of cheese has melted, starts to bubble and turns golden and crispy.
Serve with even more grated Parmesan cheese and a seriously large glass of Cabernet.
Creamy Ricotta and Tomato Sausage Lasagna
- 4 slices thick bacon roughly chopped
- 1/2 an onion diced
- 1 clove large garlic minced
- 1 1/4 pounds Italian sausages cut open with the filling taken out about 3 large
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 can Italian whole tomatoes 28oz
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1-2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 1 box no-boil lasagna sheets
- 1 container full-fat ricotta cheese 15oz
- 3-4 cups finely grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
In a large 10 inch pan cook the bacon pieces until pink.
Add the onion and stir over a medium heat until they turn soft.
Add the minced garlic and sausage meat.
Break up the meat with a wooden spoon and stir well.
Add the olive oil, basil and oregano and cook for about 5-7 minutes and the meat is nicely browned.
Open the can of tomatoes and using your hand slowly squeeze each tomato roughly crushing it into the sausage mixture. Continue until the whole can has been emptied into the pan.
Add the tomato paste and wine, stir well.
Season with the salt and pepper, bring to a boil and then simmer for at least 30 minutes on low.
Once the sauce is thick and rich, add the ricotta cheese and stir well until all of the cheese has been mixed through evenly.
Start to build the dish.
Place a thin layer of sauce on the base of the pan then a layer of lasagna sheets.
Spread more of the sauce over the pasta and sprinkle with lots of Parmesan cheese.
Repeat the process of layers until you have enough sauce to finish with a final layer on top.
Sprinkle the surface with plenty of Parmesan and place in the oven.
Bake for about 40-50 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling around the edges and the cheese is melted and golden.
Let cool for 5 minutes then serve with fresh warm ciabatta bread.