Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Spicy Sausage & Pepperoni Lasagna

Pepperoni is totally the secret ingredient in this flavorful lasagna.  It's better than any lasagna I've ever had at a restaurant.  Not bad considering we use turkey pepperoni.  I'm sure it'd be even better if you used the real thing, but this lasagna gets enough grease from the sausage.

If you don't like your food spicy, or if you want to cut down on grease (and calories), you could substitute ground beef, ground turkey or ground pork for the spicy sausage.  You can also use fat free ricotta cheese or cottage cheese instead of the whole milk version, and it'll still taste indulgent.

This lasagna reheats well in the microwave or oven, so don't feel like you have to eat it all at once.  Save some for dinner tomorrow, or bring a piece to work for lunch.  Your co-workers will be jealous!  To add some veggies to the mix, pair this lasagna with my quick and easy Everyday Salad.

Spicy Sausage & Pepperoni Lasagna
Servings: 8 (about 400 calories each)

8 oz lasagna noodles, uncooked (about half a typical box of noodles)
50-60 slices pepperoni

For meat sauce:
1 lb Italian sausage (we use Johnsonville Hot Italian Sausage)
2 cloves garlic, minced (or equivalent garlic powder)
1 small onion, chopped
6 oz tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained (14 1/2 ounces)
1 tsp Splenda (or sugar)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp basil leaves
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

For cheese sauce:
16 oz ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp parsley flakes
2 c shredded mozzarella cheese (8 oz)
1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese

Cook noodles according to package directions.

For meat sauce, in a skillet, combine sausage, onion and garlic.  Cook until sausage is no longer pink, stirring occasionally.  Drain.  Stir in remaining ingredients for meat sauce.  Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.

For cheese sauce, in a medium bowl, blend all ingredients for cheese sauce.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and spray a 13"x9" pan with cooking spray. 

Now it's time to assemble the lasagna.  You want 3 to 4 layers of meat sauce, cheese sauce, noodles and pepperoni.  The following list shows the order of the layers:
  1. A thin layer of meat sauce.  
  2. 3 noodles.  
  3. A layer of meat sauce. 
  4. A layer of cheese sauce.  
  5. A layer of pepperoni.  
  6. 3 noodles. 
  7. A layer of meat sauce. 
  8. A layer of cheese sauce.  
  9. A layer of pepperoni.  
  10. 3 noodles.  
  11. A layer of meat sauce.  
  12. A layer of cheese sauce.  
  13. A layer of pepperoni.  
  14. Top with remaining noodles.   
  15. Top with remaining cheese sauce.
  16. Top with remaining pepperoni.
Once you have assembled the lasagna, cover the pan and bake about 45-60 minutes or until hot and bubbly.  Let stand 5 minutes before cutting.

My husband made the lasagna pictured here.  He ran out of cheese sauce before he got to the top layer.  For presentation sake, I think it would've looked a little nicer with melted cheese on top, but it tasted delicious regardless.  I'm looking forward to leftovers tomorrow!

Happy eating!

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