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May 19, 2015

Cook Once, Eat Twice Turkey Sausage and Goat Cheese Lasagna

I've officially entered the most tedious part of pregnancy, the final weeks. All of the major preparations are finished, the baby is considered full-term, so now I'm just waiting for him to decide he's ready to come out into the world. No telling when that might happen. In the meantime I'm doing all the things women in the last weeks of their pregnancy are expected to do: pack their bags for the hospital, go on lots of walks, sleep as much as possible, and oh yes, make freezer meals. My favorite kind of freezer meal is an eat some now and eat some later meal; I don't want to work on something for two hours just to put it in the freezer to enjoy weeks from now. I need some instant gratification. This also happens to be my favorite lasagna recipe ever. The turkey sausage keeps things from getting too heavy, and the goat cheese adds a nice tangy element.

Turkey Sausage and Goat Cheese Lasagna (adapted from Ina Garten's recipe)


2 tablespoons olive oil
1-1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (1 large onion)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 pounds (1 package) sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes in tomato puree
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound lasagna noodles
15 ounces ricotta cheese
4-6 ounces creamy goat cheese, crumbled
1 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/2 cup for sprinkling
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1.5 pounds fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced (or use pearls)


Heat the olive oil in a large (10 to 12-inch) skillet. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the sausage and cook over medium-low heat, breaking it up with a fork, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until no longer pink. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, the basil, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat, for 5 to 10 minutes, or until thickened.

Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with the hottest tap water. Add the noodles and allow them to sit in the water for 20 minutes. Drain.

In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, goat cheese, 1 cup of Parmesan, the egg, the remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.

Ladle 1/3 of the sauce into two 8 inch square baking dishes, one 7 X 10 inch dish and one 8 inch square dish, or one 9 X 13 if you are cooking for a crowd.

Spread the sauce over the bottom of the dish(es). Then add the layers as follows: half the pasta, half the mozzarella, half the ricotta, and one third of the sauce. Add the rest of the pasta, mozzarella, ricotta, and finally, sauce. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of Parmesan and any remaining mozzarella.

To Store:
Cover lasagna tightly with a layer of Press and Seal or plastic wrap and a layer of foil, then refrigerate for two days or freeze for up to one month. If frozen, the casserole must be thawed completely in the refrigerator before baking, about 24 hours.

To Serve:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake for 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling.

Just a few notes: I always seem to run low on sauce when I make this lasagna, so be careful not to use too much on the first two layers or you won't have enough left for the top. I used a log of mozzarella (not pre-sliced, the sections are too thick) for the bottom two layers and sprinkled pearls over the top. It's easier to slice the mozz if you put it in the freezer for 15-20 minutes first. You can substitute no-boil lasagna noodles in this recipe, though the method of soaking the noodles in hot water is actually pretty convenient.

I hope you guys love this lasagna as much as I do! If anyone has suggestions on how to kill time during the last few weeks of pregnancy, I'm all ears!

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