My husband loves lasagna. And not just any lasagna, mind you. No, Rod loves deep-dish lasagnas chocked full of fabulous ingredients and flavors. The fuller, the better. The more, the merrier. Fortunately, I have one in mind.
This homestyle lasagna is assembled with layers of italian sausage, multiple cheeses, lasagna noodles, marinara sauce and vegetables. The secret though is in the vegetables. It’s the sauteed zucchini and carrots that give this lasagna its hearty, fresh flavor … and homestyle status. And it’s the vegetables that entices my husband to love this lasagna so much.
So, when the opportunity presented itself to make him his all-time favorite dish … AKA I acquired a new pan worthy of the depths this homestyle lasagna requires … I jumped on it.
I received/earned/won a new deep dish lasagna pan by collecting stamps at our local grocery store. I collected stamps for weeks (one for every $10 spent) and the day finally came when I stamped #120 onto the form … which I promptly and excitedly traded in for this beauty. Yes, for those keeping track, my free lasagna pan cost $1200.
It is 13.5 inches of stainless steel Cuisinart fabulousness. I feel like Ralphie’s father when he won his Major Award (A Christmas Story). Although, arguably mine is much more spectacular.
You can’t bake a lasagna in a leg lamp.
Or so I’ve heard.
I loaded my grocery basket with all of the ingredients needed to make this homestyle lasagna masterpiece and with overloaded bags and fabulous new pan in tow, went home for a lively afternoon in the kitchen.
Looks like we are all set. Let’s get this party started.
Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and cut 1/2 inch chunks on the diagonal. Peel the carrots and cut into 1/2 chunks on the diagonal, as well. In a large pan over medium heat, saute the zucchini and carrots in olive oil until they are tender, yet crisp (about 5 minutes). Remove from the pan and set aside.
Chop the onion and garlic and saute in a tablespoon of olive oil (using the same pan) until the onions are translucent. Add the Italian sausage and season with dried basil, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat until the meat is browned.
Meanwhile … and this is where you will garner the multitasking badge of honor … boil a large pot of water and cook the lasagna according to package directions until they are al dente. Remove from pot, drain and set aside. You may want to lay them out flat on a pan so they are easier to work with.
Lightly spray a deep 9×13 pan with cooking spray. Pour a few spoonfuls of sauce in the bottom and spread around. Use your favorite sauce, or try this tempting marinara sauce recipe.
Now comes the fun part … layering the lasagna.
Layer 3-4 lasagna noodles directly on top of the sauce. I use four and overlap them a bit. This lasagna will have three full layers with four layers of noodles (one layer on bottom and one on top).
Next, spread 1/3 of the ricotta cheese mixture on top of the noodles.
Follow with 1/3 of the meat mixture and top it with a handful of shredded mozzarella cheese (about 2/3 cup). I like to keep about two cups of mozzarella cheese for the top, so divide the other two cups between the layers.
Add 1/3 of the vegetable mixture and top with a small handful of shredded parmesan cheese (about 1/4 cup). Add another layer of noodles and spread a small amount of sauce on top of them.
Now, repeat this process two more times.
End the layering with noodles, the remainder of the sauce (just pour it on), the rest of the mozzarella cheese (roughly 2 cups) and shredded parmesan cheese (roughly 1/2 cup). Add another shake or two of the dried basil for good measure and Voila! This chocked full of flavorful ingredients homestyle lasagna is ready to be baked.
Cover the lasagna with foil and place in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for about an hour, or until the lasagna is hot and bubbly. Remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes. Take the lasagna out of the oven and let sit for 15 minutes before cutting … this is the hard part.
By this time, the fabulous lasagna aroma will have been swirling around your senses like mad and this 15 minutes of waiting will test your patience. But, the wait is worth it.
This homestyle lasagna is absolutely delicious and plentiful enough to feed a crowd. Or my husband.
- 1 zucchini, halved and sliced diagonal
- 2 carrots, peeled and sliced diagonal
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 pound sweet Italian sausage (or spicy)
- 2 tablespoons dried basil, divided
- 1 teaspoon salt (to taste)
- ½ teaspoon pepper (to taste)
- 1 pound lasagna noodles
- 1 carton (15 ounce) ricotta cheese
- 2 eggs
- 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- 1¼ cups shredded parmesan cheese, divided
- 2 quarts sauce - try this Tempting Marinara Sauce
- In a large pan over medium heat, saute zucchini and carrots in olive oil until tender but crisp (about 5 minutes). Remove and set aside.
- Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and saute the onion and garlic until onion is translucent. Add meat and season with basil, salt and pepper. Cook until brown.
- In a large pot of boiling water, cook lasagna noodles al dente (7-9 minutes). Remove from pot, drain and set aside.
- Lightly coat the bottom of a deep 9x13 pan with cooking spray. Spoon some sauce into the bottom of the pan and spread evenly.
- Layer 3-4 lasagna noodles on top of the sauce, overlapping the edges.
- Spread ⅓ of the ricotta cheese mixture on top of the noodles, Layer ⅓ of the meat mixture, ⅔ cup of mozzarella cheese, ⅓ of the vegetable mixture, ¼ cup of shredded parmesan cheese and top with another layer of lasagna noodles. Spread a small amount of sauce on top of the noodles. Repeat two more times, ending with a layer of noodles.
- Pour the remaining sauce on top of the lasagna noodles. Add remaining mozzarella cheese (about 2 cups) and parmesan cheese (about ½ cup).
- Place foil on top of pan.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour 15 minutes, or until the lasagna is hot and bubbly. Remove the foil during the last 15 minutes of baking. Let cool 15-20 minutes before serving.