Simple cooking relies on the best tasting, best quality ingredients. For lasagna, that means flavorful, good textured pasta, a marinara that isn’t overpowering, Italian cheese, and frozen spinach that still has flavor. Here are specific brands that I like to use:
- Bozeman Community food Co-Op Italian sausage
- Rustichella d’Abruzzo sheet lasagne (in Bozeman, find at Joe’s Parkway)
- Italian cheese: Galbani whole milk ricotta and shredding mozarella (in Bozeman, find at Rosauer’s)
- Parmigiano Reggiano. Buy freshly cut pieces at The Gourmet Cellar in Livingston, Joe’s Parkway, Mavens, and Whole Foods in Bozeman (new store as of 2023). (Another source for great cheese is online at Zingerman’s)
- Stahlbush Frozen Cut Spinach
The fun starts once you get the ingredients prepared (pasta boiled, spinach thawed, sausage cooked, cheese shredded). Layer into your pan: sauce, pasta, ricotta, sausage (if you’re using it), spinach, mozarella, and parm. Repeat three times, ending with cheese on top. Cover with foil, bake it an hour, let it rest a few minutes, then serve it for dinner. Here are a couple photos I snapped along the way:
My friend Don hosted a small group of us for dinner at his apartment in San Francisco when we were all working at Oracle a long time ago. He used standard, wavy-edged lasagne and didn’t boil them first. I had never heard of such a thing, but it worked great. He emailed me his recipe and I wrote it up several years later when I started this blog. Return to that original if you want to skip the pre-boiling of the lasagne, or squint and go by Don’s rough guidelines:
- 8 ounces lasagne noodles, about 12 noodles Rustichella D'abruzzo lasagne sheets or standard lasagne noodles
- 8–10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed Stahlbush
- 3 links Italian sausage, hot or mild, cooked and sliced into rounds or crumbled optional
- 1 26-ounce jar marinara Dave's Gourmet Red Heirloom or Rao's Marinara
- 16 ounces whole milk ricotta Galbani's
- 8 ounces mozzarella, shredded
- 2 ounces Parmesan, grated
Preheat oven to 350°F. Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta. When it comes to boil, add a couple tablespoons of salt. Cook the pasta al dente, following package instructions. Remove pasta from the water and set aside.
Place spinach into a colander over the sink. Press and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Set aside.
Cook the sausage in oven (about 15 minutes at 350°) or remove from casing and cook in a frying pan on the stovetop. If left whole, slice into discs about ¼-inch thick.
Assemble the lasagne in a glass or ceramic dish, around 8x10-inches. Start with a few tablespoons of sauce, then layer pasta, ricotta, sausage (if using), spinach, mozzarella, and parmesan. Repeat for a total of three layers, ending with cheese on top. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 1 hour, removing foil for the last 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit 10–30 minutes before serving.