Sarah's Lasagna Fantastico
2 28-oz. cans whole peeled tomatoes, pureed
1 pound ground Italian sausage, mild or hot
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
Half a yellow onion, finely chopped
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
½ serrano pepper, seeded and minced
¼ cup dry white wine (optional)
1 16-oz. tub of sour cream
1 16-oz. box lasagna noodles
1 pound shredded mozzarella
1 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1 cup Romano cheese, freshly grated
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Use a food processor to puree the tomatoes until no lumps remain. Set aside.
Brown the sausage over medium-low heat until fully cooked. Drain the fat and set aside.
Heat a large pot over medium-low heat for one minute, then add the extra-virgin olive oil and heat for an additional minute. Add minced garlic and cook for one to two minutes, then add the onion, red pepper flakes and serrano pepper and cook until onions are softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add white wine and cook over medium-high heat until reduced, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Add pureed tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer, add cooked sausage and cook for 30 to 60 minutes until desired consistency is reached. If sauce is too thick, add the reserved pasta water as needed. Refrigerate for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to one month.
As the sauce simmers, fill a large pot with water and 1 to 2 tablespoons kosher salt and bring to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles according to direction on package. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water, then drain and rinse noodles with cold water to prevent further cooking.
Assemble the lasagna, cover dish with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for one hour, until cheese is fully melted and bubbly. Remove foil and broil until top is golden brown. Remove and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
To assemble the lasagna:
- Use a 9×13 glass baking dish and lightly coat bottom with sauce.
- Spread a light layer of sour cream over each lasagna noodle.
- Cover bottom of dish with a layer of noodles, slightly overlapping each other. Cover with a layer of sauce, followed by a generous layer of shredded mozzarella and a light sprinkling of Parmesan and Romano cheeses. Repeat for at least 3 layers.
- Cover with foil and bake immediately, or freeze for up to one month.
- For a spicier version, use hot Italian sausage and add seeds from serrano pepper.
- If you have fresh parsley or basil on hand, throw in a sprig or two as the sauce simmers, and remove once the sauce is ready.
- Look for lasagna noodles that have ridges, like Dakota Growers, as they will help hold the sauce and cheese to the noodle.