Being not the biggest fan of tomato-based sauces, I like to look for excuses to use other sauces where a tomato sauce is typically called for. In this case, I had been given a big bag of fresh basil by a friend (thanks, Allison!) and whipped up a batch of pesto. I had also found a pound of hot Italian sausage and a package of chopped spinach in the freezer, and inspiration struck. I picked up some ricotta cheese (you can use cottage if you like, but I am a ricotta fiend) lasagna noodles and shredded mozzarella, and set to work.
Typically when I make lasagna, manicotti or stuffed shells, I will add parsley to the cheese mix, for color, but since I added spinach, I omitted it here. I will also typically season the cheese mixture, but again, this time I allowed the sausage to flavor it.
- 1 lb hot Italian sausage, scrambled and drained
- 2 lb ricotta cheese
- 3-4 eggs
- 1 package chopped spinach, drained
- pesto sauce
- 1 package lasagna noodles, prepared according to package directions
- 1 lb shredded mozzarella
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a bowl, combine ricotta and eggs; blend well, then stir in sausage and spinach. In a deep baking dish, put a layer of pesto sauce, then a layer of noodles, then alternate layers of sauce, cheese and noodles until you run out of the ricotta mixture. Top with a final layer of noodles and sauce, and then a layer of shredded mozzarella. Bake until cheese on top is melted and slightly browned.