Sausage & Mushroom Lasagna

Listen, I'm a sucker for an old-fashioned method.  I refused for years to buy "oven ready" pasta.  But you know what?  Not everyone has the time or the want to do things the old-fashioned way.

So as I come into the New Year and made a promise to myself that I would post one recipe a week NO MATTER WHAT............ I was going through some other food blogs and some of my recipes that I have been working on.  I realized that I would have to start incorporating a certain level of convenience into my recipes for busy families.  I have always been budget friendly driven, but I snub newer, quicker methods and generally like to do things the tried and true way.

Not only did I try oven-ready lasagna noodles for this recipe but I also used my food processor to chop things.  I love my food processor BUT, again, I really like to chop and slice everything by hand.  It makes me feel more connected to the dish I'm creating.  However, how can I boast a method if I, myself, don't use it myself when creating a recipe?

Well, let me tell you.  It wasn't the end of the world!  In fact, I invited two of my besties, John and Melissa, over to try the lasagna to make sure it was perfect before blogging.  They loved it and no one could even tell, except me, that I used a food processor or oven-ready lasagna.

So maybe, just maybe I'll start to change with the times.  You never know.  New year, new methods!!

Anyway, here is the recipe for this LIFE CHANGING lasagna.  It's a bechamel based lasagna and it is rich, rich, rich!  Definitely a game changer in the lasagna department.  You guys will love this!

Sausage & Mushroom Lasagna

Prep Time:  about 1 hour
Bake Time:  45 minutes
Serves:  8-10

Ingredients:

2 boxes of oven ready lasagna
1 cup of shredded fontina cheese
8 oz of fresh mozzarella
1/2 cup of grated parmiggiano cheese
fresh thyme for garnish
butter for greasing lasagna pan


FOR SAUSAGE FILLING:
2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1 lb sweet italian sausage, casings removed
1 small onion minced
2 cloves garlic minced
16 oz of whole milk ricotta cheese
1/2 cup of parmiggiano cheese, grated
2 eggs
1/4 tsp of garlic powder
1 tsp of fresh thyme
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt

FOR BECHAMEL:
3 TBSP of butter
3 TBSP of all purpose flour
1 3/4 cup of whole milk
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp coarse black pepper

FOR MUSHROOMS:
2 TBSP butter
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 lb of crimini mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup of marsala wine (or beef stock)

Method:

Let's start with the sausage mixture since it needs to cool for a bit before adding to the ricotta mixture.

In a medium to large skillet, heat up 2 TBSP of extra virgin olive oil and add the minced onion and garlic over medium high heat until translucent.

Add sausage and fresh thyme and cook until browned and crumbly.
Remove from pan and place sausage in a strainer over top of a bowl to collect any drippings.  Discard drippings and allow sausage to cool for 20 minutes.

While the sausage is cooling, go ahead and wash and clean your mushrooms.  Slice into 1/4 inch slices.  In the same skillet you cooked your sausage in, add butter, mushrooms and fresh thyme.  Cook until mushrooms become 3/4 of the way done.  Add the marsala (or beef stock if you are substituting) and crank heat up to high to reduce.  Cook until almost all liquid is evaporated.  Remove from pan and set aside.

Preheat your oven to 350 degress and liberally grease a 9x13 baking dish with butter.  Set aside.

In a large bowl dump the drained sausage mixture.  Add ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup of parmiggiano, 2 eggs, 1/4 tsp of garlic powder, tsp of fresh thyme, 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp of black pepper.  Fold together gently until well combined.

Set up an assembly line for the lasagna.  We are going to make the bechamel sauce next and you will need to move quickly once the sauce is finished so that it doesn't thicken while it cools to an unworkable mush.  ;-)

In a medium sauce pot, heat 3 TBSP of butt over medium heat until melted.  Add 3 TBSP of all purpose flour and, whisking constantly, cook for 1-2 minutes making sure not to allow the mixture to go beyond a light oak color.  Again, while whisking constantly, slowly add the whole milk.  It will look crazy and first, but just keep whisking it will come together!  Reduce heat to medium low, and allow to thicken for about 3-4 minutes, whisking often.  When it's thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, turn of heat and whisk in salt and pepper.

Now let's get ready to build the lasagna!!

Place about 1/2 cup of bechamel sauce into the bottom of the pan, making sure to get a thin coat of sauce to cover the entire bottom of the pan.  Your lasagna layer should consist of:  Lasagna noodles, 1/3 of the ricotta sausage filling, 1/3 of the fontina, 1/3 of the 1/2 cup of parmiggiano cheese and 1/3 of the mushroom mixture.  Ladle bechamel over each layer.  You should have 3 completed layers.

On the last layer, add mozzarella cheese and sprinkle fresh thyme all over the top.  Dump on the remaining bechamel sauce.

Cover with foil and cook for 35 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Uncover and cook an additional 10 minutes on 375 degrees.

Remove from oven, cover and allow to sit for 10 to 15 minutes.

Serve and enjoy!!!!!!!!!

Krissi Biasiello is a native of South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Cooking since she was a little girl with her large Italian family, she decided to leave her paralegal job and shoot for the stars on FOX’s cooking competition show, MasterChef.  She beat out 43,000 homecooks across America and came in 4th place.  Under the scrutiny of Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot and Joe Bastianich, Krissi has made her mark in the culinary world.  She now shares her recipes with all of you!  Her rustic, homestyle take on everything will win you over and will definitely “get your asses in the kitchen”. 

To contact Krissi for appearances, in-home demonstrations, catering and more, you can find her below. 

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