Summer Lasagna with Fresh Mozzarella, Sausage, and Basil
- For the Tomato Sauce:
- ¬ľ cup olive oil
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 pounds Roma or plum tomatoes (16 to 18¬†tomatoes), roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped oregano leaves
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- For the Casserole:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ¬ĺ pound sweet Italian pork, chicken, or turkey¬†sausage
- Six 12 √ó 5-inch sheets fresh homemade pasta, 9¬†no-boil lasagna noodles, or 12 to 15 dried¬†lasagna noodles
- 24 basil leaves, cut into thin strips
- 1 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
This lasagna starts with a basic tomato sauce. But there‚Äôs¬†no cheese filling, just strips of mozzarella and fresh basil¬†leaves layered with sausage.
- Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat¬†the oven to 350¬įF.
- To make the tomato sauce, heat a large saucepan over¬†medium heat. Swirl in 1/4 cup olive oil, then add the onions¬†and cook until softened, about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Add the garlic and cook just until aromatic, about 20¬†seconds.
- Add the tomatoes, oregano, sugar, salt, and pepper.
- Bring the sauce to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and¬†simmer until the tomatoes break down and the sauce¬†thickens, 30 to 40 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste.
- Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Swirl in 1 tablespoon olive oil, then add the sausage. The¬†moment the sausage starts to frizzle, reduce the heat¬†somewhat and continue cooking until the sausages are¬†browned on all sides, about 8 minutes, turning every so¬†often. Transfer the sausages to a cutting board and let them¬†stand for a few minutes until you can easily cut them into¬†thin rings.
- If you‚Äôre using fresh pasta: Cook it following the¬†instructions on section Pasta and Noodles just until it‚Äôs¬†pliable, no more than 1 minute, then drain the noodles in a¬†colander in the sink. Don‚Äôt overcook the pasta‚ÄĒit needs to¬†absorb moisture in the casserole (a task that no-boil¬†noodles will do well).
- To build the casserole in a 13 √ó 9-inch pan, follow this¬†method: 1 cup tomato sauce across the pan‚Äôs bottom; 2¬†sheets of homemade pasta, 3 no-boil noodles, or 4 to 5¬†cooked, drained dried lasagna noodles; 1¬Ĺ cups tomato¬†sauce; half the sausage rings; half the basil leaves; half the¬†cheese slices; 2 more sheets of homemade pasta, 3 noboil¬†noodles, or 4 to 5 cooked, drained dried lasagna¬†noodles; 1¬Ĺ cups tomato sauce; the remaining sausage¬†rings; the remaining basil; the remaining cheese; the¬†remaining noodles; and finally the remaining tomato sauce.¬†Cover the pan with parchment paper, then aluminum foil.
- Bake for 35 minutes, then uncover the pan and continue¬†baking until hot, bubbling, and set, about 15 more minutes.
- Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before¬†serving.