Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Deconstructed Lasagna

So....do you remember when I shared the recipe for my easy peasy tomato sauce with you? 

What? You don't? 

Ok, well I'm giving you another chance. 

I told you about this amazing recipe back in the beginning of October - well, since I'm still using up my billions of tomatoes I decided to make a batch of Deconstructed Lasagna last night. 

It was rainy and cold and a dreary night all around. What's better than a cheesy gooey pasta dish and a good glass of red wine on a night like that?

There's only one rule here. I'm going to have to insist that you refrain from licking your computer screen. 


(Remember what I said....no licking.)

First assemble your ingredients. You will need tomatoes, 2 onions, ricotta cheese, a pound of Italian sweet sausage, a 28oz can of crushed tomatoes, a stick of salted butter, and grated Parmesan or Romano cheese. And pasta, of course. 


Note: If you aren't using any fresh tomatoes, use 2 cans of whole peeled tomatoes instead of the fresh tomatoes + crushed tomatoes. Crush them up with your hands as you add them to the pot. Do this in the sink as they will squirt!!


I know you can't see the butter in the photos - that's because it's hiding under the tea towel. 


Ok, I lied. I totally forgot to put it in the photo. Hey, I'm new at this blogging stuff!

For pasta, I used this gorgeous large artisan Pappardelle but you don't have to - I have used a standard Pappardelle or rigatoni in the past, either works well. 


Start by pre-heating your pot on low- med heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil. While it's heating up, get your tomatoes ready. I used a whole bunch of grape tomatoes plus a few larger tomatoes and even a few cherry tomatoes. Anything that was ripe and ready. 

I cut the grape tomatoes in half, the larger ones in chunks, and threw the cherry tomatoes in whole. Let them cook down for a while while you get your other ingredients ready. 


Cut the sausage out of the casing and break it up into chunks with a wooden spoon in a medium pan. Cook the sausage chunks on low-med until browned all over. 


When it's nicely browned, I like to put the sausage chunks into a colander in the sink - I rinse the sausage in hot water to remove all the excess fat. Every little bit helps, am I right? Put the sausage in a bowl with a lid and set it aside until you are ready for it. 


By now your tomatoes should be starting to break down - they start creating a beautiful rustic sauce - isn't this just gorgeous?


Throw in the can of crushed tomatoes, the stick of butter, and the two onions - I used a larger onion and a small one. I cut the larger one in half but left the small one whole. Give it a stir, turn the heat to low, and just let it do it's thing. 


After a while (40 minutes, perhaps?) you will have this gorgeous tomato sauce. The smell in the house will drive you mad while it's cooking - it's such a simple, basic sauce but oh soooo tasty!

Continue to simmer on low while you boil a large pot of water. I don't use salted water for this recipe - I try to keep the sodium low in our foods and I think between the salted butter, the sausage, the pasta, and the Romano or Parmesan the dish has enough salt already. And more than enough flavor!


I used to throw the onions out after the sauce was done but the last time I made it my sweetie suggested I save them in the freezer to throw into a stew or something....and it was almost like a light bulb went off over my head. Duh, why didn't I think of that? 

So...I use a pair of tongs and remove the large chunks of onion from the sauce and set apart to cool. Then they go into a labeled Ziploc bag in the freezer. 


When the pasta is cooked according to package directions, drain it and return to the pot - I like to throw in a little butter or olive oil and pepper and toss it up to keep the pasta from sticking. 

Time to assemble your dish!!

Pasta on the plate....top with a little sausage, then sauce, then a couple of spoonfuls of ricotta cheese, and finally some grated Parmesan or Romano. 

And then you have this. Remember....no lickie poo. 


It's the most beautiful melding of flavors - the spice and texture from the sausage with the silky oniony sauce and the creamy cool ricotta and the sharp grated cheese - all over a buttery noodle. 

Heaven. Right there on a plate. 

Serve it with a good red wine - my preference for this meal would be a Barbera. However, since I had a Spanish Red open that's what won out. It worked beautifully!!

I have served this meal at more than a few dinner parties and it is always a huge hit. You can cook the sausage and the sauce in advance and just heat it up for the dinner, throw it over some cooked pasta with the ricotta and grated cheese and serve with some crusty bread and red wine. Maybe a salad to start. Easy Peasy Dinner Party!!!

Mangia!!

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The full recipe for this dish can be found on this post.



17 comments:

  1. Oh my! That does look delicious! ! I can almost smell it way down here in Charleston! Did you get frost again last night? The pictures of the frost were so pretty!

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    1. We were just above freezing last night but it's miserable today - chilly, rainy, gloomy - the clouds are just sitting on the peaks here - it sure looks cool from my window!! I'm sure it's much nicer down in Charleston today!

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  2. Oh my! That does look delicious! ! I can almost smell it way down here in Charleston! Did you get frost again last night? The pictures of the frost were so pretty!

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  3. Yum! That looks good-and a lot faster than traditional lasagna, especially on a work night. I'm going to try it!

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    1. I hope you enjoy it, Diane! Since there were just 3 of us eating last night a container of sauce and the rest of the cooked sausage is in the freezer for another night - that will be a super duper easy peasy dinner night!

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  4. This looks so easy and I refrained! Although I TOTALLY wanted to!

    Happy day friend!
    karianne

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    1. Glad you could hold yourself back, KariAnne! Nice to see you in my neck of the woods - thanks for the visit!!

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  5. Amazing. I almost licked! ;) I love lasagne, but hate the work and layering process. This is going to be my new lasagne go to. I am actually putting it on the menu for Christmas right now. I always serve baked ziti as a side, because it's easy, but this looks more like holiday fare! Thanks!

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    1. Holy smokes, Kim - I made your Christmas menu?? It will be almost like I'm right there with you in your beautiful home!! :)

      You'll have to let me know what you think!! And I definitely suggest making the sauce and browning the sausage in advance - that's what I do for dinner parties and it makes this dish so incredibly easy for even a midweek dinner party. Yet your guests will never know that - it's our little secret!

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  6. That looks awesome! I love italian sausage heck....I love all of those ingredients! There might be a little guilt attached to that food with a stick of butter and cheese. Yummy!!

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    1. Tiny bit of guilt, Stacey - but remember, this is going to make at least 8 meals so when you break it down that way..... :)

      Ok, you wouldn't need to eat it every night....but you might want to after you try it!

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  7. Lick, lick :).

    I made something similar last week, but instead of fresh tomatoes I used tomato sauce I canned in August and garlic. Gotta have my garlic lol. I ate some leftovers last night, so I guess I wasn't the only one packin' on the pounds ;).

    (It's not easy to make a pasta dish shook good in pics, but you pulled it off!)

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    1. Mmmmmmmm garlic.....you know what's funny, Doreen? I usually put garlic in everything but this sauce doesn't even need it!! The juice from the onions flavors the sauce so beautifully it really needs nothing else!

      I hope you cleaned off your computer screen after you licked it, lady!! :)

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  8. Replies
    1. Thanks, Deb!! Pretty darned tasty, if I do say so myself!!

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  9. Oh my, this looks scrumptious!
    Thanks so much for sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY!
    Blessings,
    Cindy

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    Replies
    1. It is beyond scrumptious, Cindy! Thanks for hosting AMAZE ME MONDAY!

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