I made this lasagna for Bryan on our third date. That was three years ago. What can I say, the lasagna works. A few nights ago we made this together for the first time since that third date. I have no idea why we waited so long to return to this dish that had been a regular in my kitchen since the late 90’s.
I like lasagna a lot. I find that I am constantly saving recipes for it— recipes with butternut squash, or bechamel sauce, or roasted vegetables. They all sound good and I imagine that I will make them all. But I don’t. I return to this recipe over and over again. It is the best lasagna I have ever eaten. It is made with turkey sausage which really lightens it up which, I think, makes all the difference. I particularly love this dish because Bryan and I are able to get 4 (!!!) meals out of this. No cooking for the rest of the week! And, it gets better each subsequent day. I don’t even like eating leftovers and I find myself excited to go home for dinner every night that this is in the fridge.
It was fun to to make this together and think that when we first ate this meal, we didn’t know each other. Time sure does fly. I like the way in which important people in our lives influence our relationships with food. This recipe didn’t originally call for red pepper flakes but Bryan has fostered my appreciation for heat. I associate hot sauce, celery and bitters with Bryan. Bacon with Katie. Oysters with Ashley. Cheese with Tini. Crepes with Molly. Stuffing with Erikka. And too much to list with the the other Katie, whom I credit with teaching me about food. These associations are nice reminders of our friends and of past meals.
Ina Garten’s Turkey Lasagna (adapted)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes in tomato puree
- 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- crushed red pepper flakes, to taste (I use about half a teaspoon)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 pound lasagna noodles
- 15 ounces ricotta cheese
- 3 to 4 ounces creamy goat cheese, crumbled
- 1 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/3 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, the basil, red pepper flakes, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt, and 1/2 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, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.
Ladle 1/3 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 1/3 of the sauce. Add the rest of the pasta, mozzarella, ricotta, and finally, sauce. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup of Parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling.
December 12th, 2008 at 12:20 pm
How sweet! I made lasagna for my husband on our 2nd date. I love the idea of associating food with people.
December 12th, 2008 at 2:02 pm
I’ll have to make this one for my brother, he hates when lasagna doesn’t include meat.
December 14th, 2008 at 6:47 am
This lasagna looks great! My mouth especially waters at the “creamy goat cheese” and the turkey sausage. I just KNOW that has to be fantastic.
December 14th, 2008 at 11:24 am
Cute story! I think all relationship deals are sealed with a pasta! j/k! I make a similar pasta, but love your addition of the goat cheese, YUM YUM.
December 14th, 2008 at 3:09 pm
wow, i haven’t had lasagne in ages and this looks so wonderful. yum.
December 14th, 2008 at 6:48 pm
I also love lasagne. What I love most about it? Leftovers. Thanks!
December 20th, 2008 at 12:56 pm
That lasagna looks so good!
The Bitter Foodie says:
December 31st, 2008 at 9:39 am
Instead of using sheets of lasagna when she makes hers, my Mother uses cheese ravioli.
Needless to say, it’s the most filling dish you can make!
May 6th, 2009 at 3:40 pm
Earned major girlfriend points for making this lasagna – hopefully he’ll associate it with me from now on! Been rocking the leftovers all week, and I’m still in love. :)
May 6th, 2009 at 6:03 pm
Glad to hear, it is soooo good. Now I want some. Ha.
June 9th, 2009 at 4:21 pm
Nothing like a good lasagna to seal the deal…
December 14th, 2009 at 3:38 pm
This was fantastic – I added mushrooms and unfortunately didnt have Parmesean (mine had gone bad without me noticing!) but it was still wonderful. I also used part skim ricotta and whole wheat noodles. Can’t wait to eat the rest over the course of the week!
December 15th, 2009 at 9:39 am
I made it with ww noodles and doubled the red pepper flakes — it was luscious. Also, instead of one 9×12 pan, I used three foil oblong cake pans, cooked one and froze two for later. I meant to have each pan serve our family of three, but now I’m afraid it’s so delicious, it will only serve two. Thanks for the recipe!
November 8th, 2010 at 10:34 pm
i finally made this last night and was surprised by my husband’s text this evening that it was the “best lasagna i have ever had”. its like he loves me more because of this lasagna. thank you!
November 9th, 2010 at 10:52 am
Hi Raveena! I’m glad you guys liked this recipe, it remains one of my favorites.
February 13th, 2011 at 7:02 pm
I’ve made a lot of lasagna recipes in the past, and this was the most decadent and also the best so far. It’s the first recipe I’ve made from your blog and actually the first Ina Garten recipe I’ve tried, but I’m going to make your mac ‘n cheese later this week. Obviously a little bit of carb + cheese craving going on!
September 29th, 2012 at 6:25 pm
Thanks for posting this. This was the first time I made lasagna and it was a huge hit. This is a keeper!
September 30th, 2012 at 5:07 pm
Yay, Rowena! Glad it was a success!
November 10th, 2012 at 12:22 pm
I love this recipe & I have to agree with you: how fantastic that you can get several meals out of this & actually look forward to the leftovers! This is one of the first recipes that my boyfriend & I made together. We need to make this again!
March 18th, 2013 at 7:33 am
Thank you so much for posting this recipe! We substituted ground turkey for turkey sausage and just added some sausage spices to the mix. We also used WW noodles and part skim ricotta and it turned out great! The goat cheese is such a delicious addition.