Meatball Sausage Lasagne
This recipe is for my holiday-time Meatball Sausage Lasagne casserole. Lasagne noodles are a long wide flat type of noodle that are perfect for use in casseroles. Lasagne noodles originated in Italy, but are used throughout the world, and are recognized as one of the oldest types of pasta noodles. Lore has it that lasagne was first prepared in Italian farming communities, where wheat and dairy tended to be plentiful, so noodles made from semolina and cheese were easily produced.
This recipe for Meatball Sausage Lasagne is an Americanized version of the lasagne casserole. I believe that creating the dish this way rather than via meat sauce is the way to go, as I find that the meat sauce can absorb too much of the sauce, leaving the lasagne somewhat dry. The combination of the noodles, meatballs, well-seasoned Ricotta cheese and sausage make Meatball Sausage Lasagne one of my favorites, particularly around the holidays.
How you do it:
- 16 lasagna noodles, cooked al dente, usually in a one pound package
- 6 Italian-style meatballs
- 6 Italian sausages
- 4 cups marinara sauce
- 4 cups ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Pecorino-Romano cheese
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 cups fresh sliced or shredded mozzarella
- Fresh cut parsley, for garnish
- Boil the lasagna noodles until al dente. Don’t over cook. They are going to cook some more in the oven. You don’t want mushy overcooked noodles. There’s going to be four layers of noodles, each layer will require 3-4 noodles.
- This recipe assumes you have made your marinara, meatballs and sausage as called for in the ingredients list. In a 9″ by 12″ oven-safe casserole dish, line the bottom and sides with some marinara.
- Place your first layer of noodles in the bottom of the casserole. It will take between 3 and 4 noodles to fill all the spaces. You can cut the 4th noodle to shape it as needed. Cooking shears work best for this.
- Completely cover the first layer of noodles with some of the marinara sauce. Marinara sauce will go on each layer, so don’t use it all up. Now, cut the meatballs into slices and place the slices into the marinara. What you are trying to do is create square portions of lasagna, typically there will be 4 square portions per column, three separate columns, so place the meatball slices accordingly.
- Place your second layer of noodles over the meatballs. Again 3-4 noodles will be required. This layer will be the ricotta cheese layer. Cover the noodles with another layer of marinara sauce.
- In my opinion, the taste of ricotta cheese, while delicious, can be a tad bland. I like to season it a bit to up the taste. To do this, mix the ricotta cheese in a large mixing bowl with the two eggs, the Pecorino-Romano, the garlic powder, parsley, oregano, salt, and pepper. Mix well by hand to get a good distribution throughout the cheese. Then spoon the cheese mixture onto the second layer, again being careful to get an even distribution of the cheese for each serving. Top the cheese mixture with the next layer of noodles, and cover with another helping of marinara sauce.
- This layer will be the sausage layer. Cut the sausage into thin slices and place them into the layer. What you are trying to do is place the sausage slices so that each serving will have an equal amount of meatballs, ricotta cheese, and sausage through the layers. Cover with the last layer of noodles and use the remaining marinara sauce to cover the final layer.
- Either slice the fresh mozzarella into 12 slices to top each serving of lasagna, or if using shredded mozzarella, completely cover the top with the shredded mozzarella.
- Sprinkle some additional Pecorino-Romano cheese, cover with foil, and bake on lower rack, on high for 45 minutes. Remove foil, continue to bake for 15 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
- Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.