Ravioli with Two Fillings – Mushroom and Sausage

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One of our favorite foods is pasta.  There are a million different ways you can cook pasta – tomato sauces, brown butter sauces, dried, fresh, stuffed, ribbons.  It can be a quick go-to weeknight dinner or, as we have done here, a Sunday project that takes a little more time and care. One of our first true “food adventures” would have to be making fresh pasta at home.  I won’t say we mastered it right away, our kitchen has most definitely been covered in flour…, and I will wholeheartedly admit that Will is much better at it (and bread making!) than I am.  However, we always have fun experimenting with fresh pasta.

Pasta dough itself is very simple.  It’s just flour and eggs kneaded together to get the gluten going and make a starchy pasta.  Will played with a basic recipe to find the mix we like the best, about 3:1 semolina flour and all purpose flour.  We have decided that we like the addition of the all purpose flour to make a smoother, less grainy dough.  You can most definitely play with the proportions to get the mix you like the best.  Several recipes we found use some egg yolks, make a well in the flour and knead in the eggs one at a time.  We kinda skip all that and keep it pretty simple with a stand mixer.  It shouldn’t be that complicated to make a good dinner, right?

In this recipe we are using the fresh dough to make a couple different raviolis – an Italian sausage and pepper mix and a mushroom ricotta mix.  Will and I have an ongoing battle about ricotta.  For a man that loves cheese, he has some strong opinions about ricotta.. so we split the recipe and work together 😉 We finish the ravioli in a simple tomato cream sauce.  This tomato sauce is way less involved than the meat sauce in the previous lasagna recipe and can easily be put together for a weeknight dinner in about twenty minutes.

Try it out!  And as always, let me know what you think!


Ravioli with Two Fillings

Pasta Dough

  • 1 ½ cups semolina flour
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  • Pinch of salt

Tomato Cream Sauce

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 14 oz can tomato sauce
  • 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
  • kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

Mushroom Ricotta Filling

  • 4 oz fresh mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 T snipped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ⅛ tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup ricotta cheese

Sausage and Sweet Peppers Filling

  • 1 lb ground Italian sausage
  • 1 cup sweet bell peppers, diced
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes

 

Start with making the pasta dough as it will need time to sit and rest.

You can play with the amounts of semolina and all purpose flours to get the texture you like best.  Our favorite is 1 1/2 cups semolina to 1/2 cup all purpose flour.  The semolina makes a nice, starchy dough but the all purpose keeps it from getting too grainy for our taste.

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Knead the semolina, all purpose flour eggs and salt in a stand mixer.  Knead until it becomes a smooth ball of dough.  If it is looking a little dry, add a tablespoon of water at a time until it reaches the desired consistency.

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Roll the pasta dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap.

 

Let the dough sit for at least 30 minutes at room temperature.  If you aren’t using the dough for a while, it can chill for an hour or two in the fridge, you’ll just want to get it back up to room temp before rolling it out.  If you aren’t using the dough on the same day it will nicely freeze until you are ready to thaw it out.


In the meantime, make your fillings so they can cool – you don’t want the filling to be too warm when you stuff your fresh dough so that the pasta will hold its shape nicely.

For the Mushroom Ricotta Filling:

In a saute pan on medium-high heat, add the olive oil and butter.

Add the finely chopped mushrooms and saute for a few minutes, being careful not to crowd the pan too much.  *NOTE:  don’t add salt yet.  Salting will draw out the moisture of the mushrooms and cause them to steam more than saute.  By upping the heat, spreading out the mushrooms and waiting a bit to salt them you are giving them a chance to brown and get flavorful rather than just moisten.

 

Add the minced garlic and chopped parsley, saute a few more minutes until garlic starts to soften.  This is where you now want to season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.  Adjust the amount of red pepper flakes to your liking – I used about 1/2 a teaspoon here.

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Add the red wine, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of your pan, and cook until most of the liquid is evaporated.  Check your seasoning again!

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So… this is my all-time favorite wine.  Bogle Phantom.  It’s released once a year and I may or may not save a bottle every year for an eventual vertical tasting.  Will’s also been known to spoil me with a double magnum of Phantom that then just lends itself to having friends over for a wine dinner.  I’d say my love for Phantom is a problem… but it’s just not. 😉

 

Remove the mushroom mixture from the heat and let it cool little.

In a separate bowl, combine the egg yolk, ricotta cheese, and mushroom mixture.  Cover and chill until ready to use.

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For the Sausage and Peppers Filling:

Add a little olive oil to a skillet on medium-high heat. Saute the sausage for 4-5 minutes.

In this particular recipe, Will used some of his homemade Italian Sausage.  He often hunts, then will grind the venison/pork for our home use.  We have a great recipe for this Italian Sausage blend that you could use on store-bought ground pork.  Be looking for that in a future post!

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Add the sweet bell peppers.  We like the peppers to have a little bit of texture left to them, if you prefer them softer, you can definitely add them right with the sausage at the beginning.

Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.  Again, play with the amount of red pepper flakes to your taste!

 

When the sausage is fully cooked, set aside to cool until ready to fill the pasta.


Prepare the Tomato Cream Sauce:

Heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat.

Add the onions and saute for 5 minutes, or until they begin to soften and caramelize.

Add the garlic, salt and pepper and saute for a couple of minutes, until the garlic begins to soften.

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Pour in the whole tomatoes and tomato sauce.  Break up the tomatoes a little bit with your spatula, just so they start to break down.

I am a big fan of the San Marzano tomatoes. I like their sweet flavor and they are less acidic than other tomatoes. I think they just have a good, consistently sweet tomato kick.  If you can’t find them, or have a diced variety in your pantry, no worries!  You may want to add a tablespoon or so of sugar to your sauce to help cut back on some of that acidity.

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Stir the sauce and cook over low heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Use an immersion blender to smooth out the sauce now that the tomato chunks have cooked down.  Don’t have an immersion blender?  You can either transfer to a blender or just use a fork to break up any large chunks of tomato.  If you like a chunkier sauce just let it keep simmering away.

*Note: If you do use a normal blender to smooth out your sauce, make sure you vent the top/lid to allow steam to come out and shield the vent with a kitchen towel to protect yourself from any of the volcanic splatter.

 

Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the cream.  Add the shredded parmesan and check your seasonings.  Remember that cheese = salt so be sure to taste before adding more!

Cover the sauce to keep it warm until ready to use.


Now it’s ravioli-making time!

Once your pasta dough has rested and come back up to room temp, flour your counter or cutting board.  Cut the pasta dough into halves, then each half into quarters.

 

Being sure to flour the pasta itself as well as the pasta roller, roll the pasta dough into sheets.  I’ve never given in to the temptation of buying the pasta roller attachment of our stand mixer.  Sigh… maybe one of these days.  However, we have had much success with this simple hand roller that clamps to the edge of the counter top.  If you don’t have a pasta roller, you can most certainly put a little elbow grease behind a rolling pin – just know that it will take a few passes, just like in the roller, to it the pasta thin enough.

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Place a heaping teaspoon of the ravioli filling along the bottom half of the pasta sheet, leaving about a two-finger width between each dollop. As you can see in the pictures below, Will also added a little parmesan on top of each sausage “heap”.  Fold the top half of the pasta sheet over the filling and press all around each dollop to seal the pasta sheet together.  Use a ravioli stamp (or a glass cup) to cut out the ravioli shape.

 

 

Pinch along the edges of the ravioli to make sure that all the edges are sealed – if not, the filling will leak out as it boils.

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Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt the water.  This is your chance to season the pasta itself – don’t be shy with the salt added to the boiling water!

 

Carefully drop the ravioli into the boiling water.  Fresh pasta does not take long to cook, only about 3-4 minutes.  Use a slotted spoon or strainer to make sure the ravioli does not stick to each other as it cooks and notice when they really start to float.  Pull the ravioli out of the water as they are done.

Now… plate it up!  We like to put a little of the Tomato Cream Sauce on the bottom of the plate, top with ravioli, then a little more sauce, parmesan and chopped parsley on top.  How would you plate yours?

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Full Recipe

Ravioli with Two Fillings and Tomato Cream Sauce

Pasta Dough

  • 1 ½ cups semolina flour
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  • Pinch of salt

Tomato Cream Sauce

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 14 oz can tomato sauce
  • 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
  • kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

Mushroom Ricotta Filling

  • 4 oz fresh mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 T snipped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ⅛ tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup ricotta cheese

Sausage and Sweet Peppers Filling

  • 1 lb ground Italian sausage
  • 1 cup sweet bell peppers, diced
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes

Make the pasta:

Knead flours, eggs and salt in a stand mixer until incorporated.

If dough is looking dry, add a tablespoon of water at a time until desired consistency.

Roll the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap.

Let rest at room temp for 30 minutes to an hour, or chill in the fridge until ready to use.  Bring the dough back up to room temp before rolling into sheets.

Make the Mushroom Ricotta Filling:

In a saute pan over medium-high heat, add olive oil and butter.

Add mushrooms, being careful to not crowd the pan too much, saute about 5 minutes.

Add the parsley, and garlic; cook and stir for 1 minute.

Add the salt, pepper, red pepper flakes

Add the red wine to the pan, scraping any browned bits from the bottom, and cook until most of the liquid is evaporated.

Remove from heat and let cool a few minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine egg yolk, ricotta cheese, and mushroom mixture.

Cover and chill until needed.

Make the Sausage and Peppers Filling:

Saute sausage until about halfway cooked, about 4-5 minutes.

Add the diced peppers and season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.

Saute until sausage is fully cooked

Set aside to cool until ready to use.

Make the Tomato Cream Sauce:

Heat butter and oil over medium heat.

Add onions and saute for 5 minutes until they begin to soften and caramelize.

Add the garlic, salt and pepper  and saute for a minute or so.

Pour in tomato sauce and whole tomatoes.  Break up tomatoes a bit with your spatula.

Stir and cook over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Use an immersion blender or the back of a fork break any large chunks of tomato up.

Remove from heat and stir in cream.

Add cheese to taste, then check seasonings.

Make the Ravioli:

Flour your workspace and cut the rested, room temp pasta dough into halves, then quarters.

Being sure to flour the dough and the pasta roller, roll each quarter into sheets.

Place a heaping teaspoon of the ravioli filling on the bottom half of each pasta sheet, leaving about a two-finger width between each dollop.  For the sausage filling, add a little sprinkle of parmesan to each dollop.

Fold the upper half of the pasta sheet over the filling.  Press around each pile of filling to seal the pasta together.

Use a ravioli stamp, or a glass cup, to cut around each pile of filling.

Press the edges of each ravioli to ensure the edges are sealed.

Heat a large pot of water to boiling and add plenty of salt.

Gently place the ravioli in the boiling water and cook for 3-4 minutes, just to al dente.

Remove from the water with a slotted spoon or strainer.

Plate the ravioli with the sauce and top with shredded parmesan and chopped parsley.

 

Lasagna with Meat Sauce

For the first post on the new blog I’ve got to post something very… me.  Right?  I’m pretty sure this is it.

This recipe goes back to a cooking class that myself, my sister and one of our friends took on a weekend getaway in March of 2009 to The Shelby Inn just outside Round Top, Texas.  We were going to enjoy a bed & breakfast stay, some antiquing and just hanging out, but the highlight was to be the cooking class on Saturday night.  The chef asked beforehand what we wanted to work on and it turned out to be an Italian night – we would learn how to make a simple risotto, fresh pasta, and a hearty meat sauce that would be used to assemble a lasagna.  We were to bring the wine and be ready to chop.  We could do that! We can laugh now about the “breakfast” portion of the stay, the smears of tomato sauce and/or wine on our take-home cookbooks and the amount of flour all over The Shelby Inn’s kitchen, but we have great memories and a stock of recipes we’ll remember for years to come.

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That hearty meat sauce has been adapted since I’ve made it frequently at home.  Will is the fresh pasta maker, so if he is around this lasagna is made with fresh pasta sheets.  If it is a cold, winter day like today when I am home enjoying a day off from work, I use basic dried pasta sheets found in the grocery store.  The other major adaptation is the absence of the traditional ricotta cheese between the layers of pasta. Will hates ricotta.  Hates it. We’ll keep working on that in other recipes, I mean ricotta is a cheese after all, but replacing ricotta with a classic Bechamel sauce really does compliment the lasagna.  It makes for a creamy inside that adds to the comfort-food characteristic of the lasagna.

This Lasagna with Meat Sauce is a labor of love but makes for a pretty tasty dinner.  The leftovers aren’t bad for lunch either 🙂  Try it out and let me know what you think!

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Lasagna with Meat Sauce

For the Sauce:

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3-4 celery stalks, leaves included, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, any color, diced
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • ½ pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1-2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 15-ounce can tomato puree
  • 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 2-3 bay leaves (I used 4 small)
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp whole thyme
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 T sugar

For the Bechamel:

  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg, or shave fresh nutmeg

For the lasagna:

  • 1 box lasagna noodles
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Cover the bottom of a large, heavy pot with EVOO, a couple turns around the pan.

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Chop the carrots, celery, onion and bell pepper into a small dice. You can use any color of bell pepper – or add a couple if you like the variety!  I just happened to have a sweet yellow pepper on hand today.  Mince the garlic. Saute carrots, celery, onion, bell pepper and garlic a few minutes until softened.

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**A quick note about chopping bell peppers:  you will have a more stable cut if you place the skin of the pepper on the cutting board and slice inside the pepper.

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Add the ground pork and beef, crumble and brown. The meat you use in this meat sauce can be changed up depending on your tastes. We happened to have a half-pound of ground pork leftover from another dinner and I like the addition of some pork over using all beef.  Have some Italian sausage or ground turkey?  That would be great as well!  Make it your own by mixing up the protein.

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Add red pepper flakes and continue to brown.  Will and I like spicy food and generally add a good amount of heat to our cooking.  In this recipe, I added around 2 heaping teaspoons to the pot.  Start with about a teaspoon and work your way up as you taste throughout the cooking process.

Add red wine, scraping bottom of pan to release brown bits.  So what wine should you cook with?  The answer is always “wine that you would drink in a glass”.  You don’t have to use your best bottle when cooking, but keep in mind that the flavor of the wine is concentrated as it cooks down.  If you don’t like the wine in a glass, you won’t like it in your food.  For this recipe, use a slightly-dry to dry red wine – cabernet, merlot, zinfandel, good red table wines all would work.  Just stay away from a sweet red in the tomato sauce.  This is what was in my fridge, so it went into the sauce today 🙂

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Add crushed tomatoes, tomato puree, diced tomatoes and tomato paste, stirring to combine.  Here’s what went into the sauce today:

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Add bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, oregano and basil.  The recipe calls for 2-3 bay leaves – my bay leaf stash is calling to be replenished, so today I used 4 small leaves.  Just remember what you put in so you can pull them back out later!

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Stir in sugar.  Sugar helps to neutralize the acid of the tomatoes a bit.  Start with about a tablespoon but as you check the sauce while it simmers, add a touch more if you’d like to settle the tomatoes down a bit.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for at least an hour, stirring now and then and checking seasoning. Sauce can simmer on the stove top for several hours as flavors continue to develop.  Since today was so cold and rainy, I started this sauce mid-morning and let it simmer very low all afternoon.

Remove and discard the bay leaf and remove sauce from heat when ready to assemble lasagna.

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To assemble lasagna:

Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Salt the water once it is boiling and add the lasagna noodles, stirring to separate the noodles.  When cooking pasta, you want the boiling water to be salty like the ocean to season the noodles.  If you are using fresh noodles, use less salt in your pasta water.

Cook until al dente, 10-12 minutes.  Drain the noodles and set aside.

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As the noodles are cooking, make the Bechamel sauce:

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan.  Add the flour and whisk until smooth and golden in color – you are making a roux, but you don’t want to get it as toasty brown as you would for a gumbo or brown gravy.

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Whisk in the milk and add salt, pepper and nutmeg.

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Whisk until thickened, about 4-5 minutes.  Check seasoning and adjust as needed.  Keep in mind that the Bechamel sauce is in place of layering cheese inside the lasagna, so you want the sauce to have a good amount of flavor.

Remove from heat.

Spray a 9×13 pan, or two 8×8 pans, with cooking spray.  At this point, I always make a little assembly line of all the lasagna components.  It definitely makes it easier to keep going as you assemble the pan (s). I often make two small pans, one in a disposable aluminum pan, and freeze one for later.  The lasagna stores nicely in the freezer and is handy to keep for no-dinner-idea nights or to gift to friends.  Who doesn’t like to have a lasagna on hand?!

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Spread a light layer of meat sauce in the bottom of the pan(s). Lay lasagna noodles across the pan in one layer – it’s okay if the noodles overlap a little. Will and I both like the edges and the pieces where the noodles fold over and crisp up a bit… it’s a struggle when dishing out dinner.

Spread a layer of meat sauce across the noodles. Drop a few tablespoons Bechamel sauce across the pan. Spread with the Bechamel across the meat sauce with the back of the spoon. Cover with another layer of lasagna noodles.

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Repeat 2-3 times.

Top with a final light layer of meat sauce and cover with shredded mozzarella.

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*If freezing a pan set lasagna aside to cool, then cover and freeze.

Spray a sheet of foil with cooking spray and cover the pan to bake.

Bake, covered, at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Uncover and bake another 10-15 minutes.

If desired, broil a few minutes to brown the top.  We always broil.  Always.

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From frozen:

Bake, covered, at 350 for 1 ½ hours from frozen (1 hour if thawed).  

Uncover and bake another 10-15 minutes.

If desired, broil a few minutes to brown the top.  

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There you have it – one of the most “Lindsey” recipes to start of How We Cook.  Let me know what you think!  It sure did brighten up our cold day.


Full Recipe

Lasagna with Meat Sauce

For the Sauce:

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3-4 celery stalks, leaves included, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, any color, diced
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • ½ pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1-2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 15-ounce can tomato puree
  • 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 2-3 bay leaves (I used 4 small)
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp whole thyme
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 T sugar

For the Bechamel:

  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg, or shave fresh nutmeg

For the lasagna:

  • 1 box lasagna noodles
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Cover the bottom of a large, heavy pot with EVOO, a couple turns around the pan.

Saute carrots, celery, onion, bell pepper and garlic a few minutes until softened.

Add ground pork and beef, crumble and brown.

Add red pepper flakes and continue to brown.

Add red wine, scraping bottom of pan to release brown bits.  Cook out wine.

Add crushed tomatoes, tomato puree, diced tomatoes and tomato paste, stirring to combine.

Add bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, oregano and basil.

Stir in sugar.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for at least an hour, stirring now and then and checking seasoning. Sauce can simmer on the stove top for several hours as flavors continue to develop.

Remove and discard the bay leaf and remove sauce from heat when ready to assemble lasagna.


To assemble lasagna:

Bring a large pot of water to boil.

Salt the water and add the lasagna noodles.  

Cook until al dente, 10-12 minutes.

Drain the noodles and set aside.


As the noodles are cooking, make the Bechamel sauce:

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan.

Add the flour and whisk until smooth and golden in color.

Whisk in the milk and add salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Whisk until thickened, about 4-5 minutes.

Check seasoning and adjust as needed.

Remove from heat.


Spray a 9×13 pan, or two 8×8 pans, with cooking spray.

*I often make two small pans, one in a disposable aluminum pan, and freeze one for later

Spread a light layer of meat sauce in the bottom of the pan(s).

Lay lasagna noodles across the pan in one layer – it’s okay if the noodles overlap a little.

Spread a layer of meat sauce across the noodles.

Drop a few tablespoons Bechamel sauce across the pan.

Spread with the Bechamel across the meat sauce with the back of the spoon.

Cover with another layer of lasagna noodles.

Repeat 2-3 times.

Top with final light layer of meat sauce.

Cover with shredded mozzarella.

*If freezing a pan set lasagna aside to cool, then cover and freeze.


Spray a sheet of foil with cooking spray and cover the pan to bake.

Bake, covered, at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Uncover and bake another 10-15 minutes.

If desired, broil a few minutes to brown the top.

From frozen:

Bake, covered, at 350 for 1 ½ hours from frozen (1 hour if thawed)

Uncover and bake another 10-15 minutes.

If desired, broil a few minutes to brown the top.