This is the last thing I made before burning the ever-loving you-know-what out of my fingers.
About two weeks ago, I was making this Four Cheese Sausage and Spinach Lasagna and some Jack Daniels Burgers to bring to my friend’s surprise party. My lasagna was fresh out of the oven and I was trying to position it to take pictures, when my glaze that I had been ignoring for quite a while called out for my attention by angrily boiling over. (Sigh. That’s what I get for attempting to multi-task.)
I rushed to move the pot off of the burner, when a bunch of the glaze that had already begun to burn on the stove-top flung up and started caramelizing on my hands. I couldn’t get it off. If you don’t know what that feels like, make it a goal to never find out.
At that point, I was bawling my eyes out and James was practically having a heart attack because he had no clue how to help me, and all I kept thinking was, “I need to take pictures of the lasagna.”
So James ran out to get aloe, and after sending my mom a picture of my fingers, she called me at least 10 times in a row, begging me to go to the hospital… and I was still staring at the lasagna.
By the time James got back from the drugstore, I had my fingers dipped in a cup of cold water and was snapping photos with my free hand with a stream of tears still running down my face. “You need to take a break,” he kept saying.
“No. I know that this is going to be the best lasagna I’ve ever eaten, and I’m getting my pictures, even if my fingers fall off in the process.” And it was, and I did, and they did not.
After taking the pictures and tending to my burns, I finally made it to the “surprise party”. I missed the surprise of course, and dinner had already been served and enjoyed, but everyone eyed up the lasagna and decided they could make just a little room to try a slice.
The Four Cheese Sausage & Spinach Lasagna was a hit at the party, and I got several recipe requests (which is why I’m so happy that I did wind up powering through and getting the photos)! A friend of mine even made sure to save a slice to bring to his mom’s house the next day, because he said she loved lasagna and had to try it.
He sent me a screenshot of their conversation a few days later. She had said, “That was the best lasagne I have ever eaten in my life! Who made it?”
In her life. Score!
I adore this lasagna and don’t think I’ll make it any other way ever again. The sausage and sauce have amazing taste and texture, and the four cheeses give you plenty of oozing, melted goodness in every bite. The spinach adds just enough greens to balance out the heaviness of the dish, but doesn’t overpower the other flavors. The noodles are perfectly cooked without getting gummy or crunchy, which I feel is an issue with the majority of lasagna I’ve tasted. I mean, I’m sure everyone has their go-to lasagna recipe, but this really is the best.
If you don’t believe me, try to prove me wrong. Make it yourself and see what the consensus is. I’m confident that it will become your favorite!
- 1 box dried lasagna noodles (about 18 noodles)
- 10 oz frozen spinach, thawed, drained well, and pat dry
- 1 lb mozzarella cheese, sliced
- 8 oz provolone cheese, sliced
- Parmesan cheese, to top
- Fresh basil, to top
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lb sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings
- 10 oz diced prosciutto
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 (28 oz) cans whole Roma tomatoes and their juices
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning blend
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 28 oz Ricotta cheese
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped and packed
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Start by making the sauce. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add in the Italian sausage, prosciutto, and onion. Saute, tossing and breaking the sausage up with a wooden spoon, until the sausage is browned and the onion is transparent, about 8 minutes. Add in the garlic and tomato paste and saute for about 1 minute or until all of the previous ingredients are coated in the tomato paste, stirring constantly. Pour in the canned Roma tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Using a wooden spoon, break apart the tomatoes and stir occasionally. Season with the Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Continue to cook on a low simmer while you prepare the rest of the lasagna, stirring occasionally.
- In a 9 x 13" baking dish (it can be the pan you plan to cook your lasagna in), layer the noodles. Place one lasagna noodle diagonally in between each layer of noodles in order to prevent them from sticking together. Pour in hot water (near boiling-point) and let sit to soften the noodles for 20 minutes. You do not want them to get super soft, as they will continue to absorb moisture from the tomato sauce when baking.
- While you let the noodles soften, prepare the ricotta layer. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the Ricotta, egg yolks, fresh basil, nutmeg, Parmesan, salt and pepper. Process until well-combined.
- Drain the noodles and pat off excess moisture.
- Spray your 9 x 13" baking dish with nonstick spray. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spread 1½ cups of sauce over the bottom of the pan.
- Place ⅓ of the lasagna noodles in the pan, overlapping them slightly in a layer to cover all of the sauce. Spread ½ of the ricotta mixture on top, and then layer a third of the mozzarella and a third of the provolone on top. Sprinkle ½ of the spinach over the cheeses and cover with a layer of the meat sauce. Repeat for a second layer. For the third and final layer, put the remaining lasagna noodles on top, cover them with the sauce, tear the cheese into large chunks and place over top of the sauce, and sprinkle with a bit of fresh Parmesan.
- Spray foil with baking spray to prevent any cheese from sticking and cover the lasagna. Place a rimmed baking sheet underneath the lasagna pan to catch any liquid that might bubble over as the lasagna bakes. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 20-30 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.
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