Thursday, October 28, 2010

Birthday Lasagna

Tom is a bit like Garfield.  He has a weakness for lasagna.  I joke that he should be Italian with his love of the food. 

For as long as I've known him, and that is a long time, he's always asked for some kind of Italian food for his birthday dinner.  Last year it was chicken parmigiana.  This year, lasagna.  With one request....that I don't try to sneak anything healthy into it like I usually do.  You see, for years I have been adding more and more spinach to the recipe.  I even run it through the food processor first so it's in tiny bits that can't be picked out.  He swears it tastes better with just the meat and cheese. 

Being as it's his birthday and all, I obliged.  I made a huge salad to go with it though...have to get that green stuff in him somehow.

Birthday Lasagna
- 1 lb. Italian ground sausage (I use the mild)
- 1 can petite diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 egg
- 1 15 oz. container of ricotta (I use part skim)
- 1 16 oz. container of cottage cheese (I use low fat)
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
- 1 tsp minced basil
- 1 tbsp minced parsley
- 1 tsp garlic salt
- 1 box regular lasagna noodles (not the no-bake)
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- 1 jar roasted garlic marinara sauce (I use Bertoli)
- handful shaved fresh Parmesan cheese

Cook lasagna noodles in large pot of salted water just until al dente.  In a skillet, brown the sausage, draining fat, then adding the drained can of tomatoes and mixing thoroughly.  Set aside.  In a bowl, combine egg, ricotta, cottage cheese and shredded Parmesan.  Add basil, parsley and garlic salt.  When I am sneaking in spinach, I add it to the cheese mixture, just be sure to squeeze out excess water.

Preheat oven to 350.  Using a 13x9 baking dish, spread out a cup of the marinara on the bottom.  Arrange a layer of noodles, then half the cheese mixture.  Add another layer of noodles, then the meat and tomatoes mixture.  Add another layer of noodles, the last layer of cheese mixture and a final layer of noodles.  Spread the remaining marinara sauce on the top of the noodles, making sure that all the pasta is covered with sauce.

Sprinkle mozzarella and shaved Parmesan evenly on the top.  Bake uncovered for 45 minutes, until heated through completely and bubbly on all the edges. 

I've been refining this recipe since before we got married, and it's come a long way.  Hopefully all the other Garfields out there enjoy it. 

Happy Birthday Tom.

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