Tessa’s Tips: Homemade Roasted Vegetable and Sausage Lasagna
Earlier this month, a couple of my co-worker’s kids came by the test kitchen to be sous chefs for the day. Since rolling homemade pasta is one of my top 3 favorite things to do, I thought it’d be a great dish to make with them, as well as share with you all. Sorry it has absolutely nothing to do with Thanksgiving (you can find that all over the internet anyway) but think of how much fun it would be to do with your kids while they’re out of school for the holidays. Or something for you to make ahead and freeze to have on hand for all of those out of town holiday visitors.
I’ll post the recipe at the end but thought these pictures would give you an idea of how much fun we had.
First we started with some of my favorite vegetables…All vegetables were thinly sliced (about ¼ inch thick) and rubbed with a little bit of olive oil before going into the hot oven to roast.
Next step: brown a little Italian sausage and add your favorite spaghetti sauce. I, of course, used our secret Noodles spaghetti sauce—it has just the right amount of oregano, basil, garlic and onion that marries perfectly with the sweet tomato.
For the cheesy, creamy filling that goes between the layers of vegetables and pasta sheets, we combined ricotta, parmesan cheese, a couple of eggs, fresh parsley, steamed spinach leaves and….Roasted garlic!! It really adds a wonderful earthy sweetness to your lasagna.
If you’re going to go to the trouble of making a homemade lasagna, you simply have to make homemade noodles (especially if you have a couple of helpers like I did). They’re so easy to make and their texture and flavor are outstanding!
Once we had all of our ingredients prepped, all we had to do was assemble them in layers. My two sous chefs had a lot of fun with this part.
Ready for the oven and your dinner table!
Here’s the recipe:
(this is where I should apologize for not having exact quantities for the ingredients. But I find all that measuring takes away from the fun of it all!)
For the lasagna noodles:
On a clean kitchen table, mound 4 cups of flour. Make a small well in the center and add 3 eggs. Gently begin stirring the eggs with your fingers, pulling in a little bit of the flour each time until both ingredients are fully incorporated and dough forms. Knead the dough for 8-10 minutes until smooth. Form a small ball out of the dough and let rest (very important—this allows the gluten to relax!) for a minimum of 15 minutes. Dough can then be rolled out into sheets by hand or with a pasta roller.
For the lasagna:
1. Take your vegetable/s of choice—I used eggplant, zucchini and red peppers. Thinly slice, rub with a little olive oil and roast in a 375 degree oven until soft and pliable. Set aside. (I did not add any salt here as I thought the rest of the ingredients already had enough for the whole dish).
2. For the filling—take 32 oz of ricotta, 2 eggs, a handful of mozzarella and parmesan cheese, a lot of fresh spinach leaves (steamed and drained of liquid), freshly ground black pepper and a couple of mashed cloves of roasted garlic. Stir to combine. Set aside.
3. Brown about 10 oz of Italian sausage, add your favorite spaghetti sauce and a little water if necessary to achieve the consistency you want. Set aside.
4. Mise-en-place* a good amount of shredded mozzarella cheese, parm cheese, and some pesto (if you like and have on hand).
5. Layer ingredients in an oven-proof casserole dish. Start with a little spaghetti sauce on the bottom, then a layer of noodles. The rest can be added in any order you like, just make sure you don’t either put too much sauce in (will make the lasagna runny) or not enough (it will be dry). Bake in a 375 degree oven until bubbly—about 30-40 minutes. I like to finish mine off under the broiler for a few minutes so that the cheese melts and turns brown and delicious.
I hope you get a chance to make and enjoy with your kids—we had a blast cooking together (and dinner was made to boot!)
Happy cooking all.
*A French phrase meaning “everything in place”.