11 Layer Lasagna

I recently learned how to program my oven so it can turn on and cook dinner while I am out of the house schlepping kids to afterschool activities.  What a lifesaver this discovery has been!  On Monday night, after the kiddos were all in bed, I prepared this delicious lasagna and set it aside to be magically cooked the next day while we were out.  Even if you don’t have a magic oven, lasagna is such a great meal to make ahead.  I cooked this recipe in one large 9 x 13 glass pan, but it would easily work in two  9 x 9 pans or 8 x 8 pans.  Cook one and save the other for later!

The ricotta cheese and the lasagna noodles are the only 2 ingredients that are not local in this delicious meal.  However, here in Charlotte, you could easily find local pasta by stopping by Pasta and Provisions on Providence or visiting the Pasta Wench at the Atherton Farmers Market – although the Pasta Wench is not making lasagna noodles as of this post, they are making spaghetti, fettucine, raviolis, AND gluten free pasta!  (I’ve tried it and it is great!)  

Ingredients:

olive oil
12 lasagna noodles
3 cups (approx) marinara sauce
1 lb. sausage, crumbled
1 large onion, sliced thinly
2 handfuls spinach (I used local malabar spinach)
8 oz. mushrooms (I used shitake)
8 oz. ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 eggs
salt and pepper

Directions: 

1. Cook the crumbled sausage.  Set aside.

2. Prepare the cheesy layer… Caramelize the onions in olive oil or a bit of the fat leftover from cooking the sausage.  Add the mushrooms and spinach.  Continue cooking until spinach is wilted.  Set aside.  Combine 8 oz. ricotta cheese, 1 cup mozzarella, 2 eggs in a large bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add the onions, mushroom and spinach mixture.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray.

Layer 1: Spread about 1 cup of sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 pan.
Layer 2: 4 lasagna noodles
Layer 3: 1/2 of the cheese and onion mixture
Layer 4: 1/2 of the cooked crumbled sausage
Layer 5: About 1 cup of sauce
Layer 6: 4 lasagna noodles
Layer 7: The other 1/2 of the cheese and onion mixture
Layer 8: The other 1/2 of the crumbled sausage
Layer 9: 4 Lasagna noodles
Layer 10: About 1 cup of sauce
Layer 11: 1 cup of shredded mozzarella

Cook for about an hour at 350 degrees covered with foil.  Remove foil and cook for an additional 5 minutes.  Enjoy!!

Layers 1 – 3
Layer 4: Crumbled Sausage
Layers 1 – 6 (uncooked noodles)
Dinner is served… 

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