this blog is by kirsten hoover
cousin of the appreciator (daughter of aunt sal)
entertaining is an art that my mom masters. she famously has 70+ people over for chili the night before thanksgiving and even more than that on christmas day for brunch. everyone always asks how she does it and honestly i don’t know. i truly think she does have superpowers but she has also taught me the art to a good dinner party…timing. she says she learned this from her mother who also a great entertainer. according to mom the key to a great party is getting everything timed right. now i’ve been to a party where the host is whipping up the dish at the last minute, casually drinking a glass of wine and able to carry on a conversation with the guests all at the same time. i am just NOT this kind of cook. when my mom has these massive parties she is also able to sit and talk to her guests ….because she has done everything ahead of time. some people think that in order to have a dinner party you need to be a great cook and this is not so. people just want to spend time with you and have fun.
so take this recipe, make it ahead of time (even the day before) with a caesar salad (lettuce, croutons, dressing, done) and sit and enjoy the people you love.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes in tomato puree
- 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 pound lasagna noodles
- 15 ounces ricotta cheese
- 3 to 4 ounces creamy goat cheese, crumbled
- 1 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling
- 1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
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 of the salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat, for 15 to 20 minutes, 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, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.
Ladle 1/3 of the sauce into a 9 by 12 by 2-inch rectangular baking dish, spreading the sauce over the bottom of the dish. Then add the layers as follows: half the pasta, half the mozzarella, half the ricotta, and one 1/3 of the sauce. Add the rest of the pasta, mozzarella, ricotta, and finally, sauce. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of Parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling.