I am back from Kansas and returned to work on Monday, but in truth, the trip left me short on words, so I thought it best to ease back in with something that requires little description.
Just before I left for Kansas, I wanted the sort of comfort food that fills homes (and mouths) with warmth and familiarity. I made lasagna. When I arrived home, after 30 hours of travel, I discovered that my mother had had the same idea. Two Sundays ago, she and I were both making lasagna. On opposite sides of the world.
Ina Garten’s turkey lasagna is a favorite of mine. The turkey sausage is a lovely (and lighter) touch, but it is her addition of goat cheese that really makes this one unique.
Like all lasagnas, it is easy to play with the portioning. With the lasagna ingredients all lined up on the counter, I made us one big baking dish to serve to friends, and a few small ramekins that were destined for the freezer. In a few weeks, when we’re pretending that it feels like fall, I’ll defrost and bake those ramekins for an easy dinner.
Can you believe that I found Johnsonville turkey sausage at a grocery store in Bangkok? On the list of things that Thailand is importing from the United States, this may very well be the most surprising I’ve come across.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1½ pounds sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes in tomato puree
- 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
- ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
- ½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ pound lasagna noodles
- 15 ounces ricotta cheese
- 3 to 4 ounces creamy goat cheese, crumbled
- 1 cup grated Parmesan, plus ¼ cup for sprinkling
- 1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Heat the olive oil in a large (10 to 12-inch) skillet. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the sausage and cook over medium-low heat, breaking it up with a fork, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until no longer pink. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, the basil, 1½ teaspoons of the salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat, for 15 to 20 minutes, until thickened.
- Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with the hottest tap water. Add the noodles and allow them to sit in the water for 20 minutes. Drain.
- In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, goat cheese, 1 cup of Parmesan, the egg, the remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley, remaining ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Set aside.
- Ladle ⅓ of the sauce into a 9 by 12 by 2-inch rectangular baking dish, spreading the sauce over the bottom of the dish. Then add the layers as follows: half the pasta, half the mozzarella, half the ricotta, and one ⅓ of the sauce. Add the rest of the pasta, mozzarella, ricotta, and finally, sauce. Sprinkle with ¼ cup of Parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling.