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Mushroom, Sausage and Roasted Red Pepper Lasagna

A popular cheese used for making lasagna, ricotta means "recooked" in Italian. It is so-named because the whey-based cheese is prepared by heating the whey left over from making sheep's, goat's or cow's milk cheeses. Most Italian ricottas are made from sheep's milk, but any variety of fresh ricotta will work in this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 lb. mild Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 lb. cremini mushrooms, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 jars (each 26 oz.) Williams-Sonoma Roasted
     Red Pepper Pasta Sauce
  • 1 lb. lasagna noodles, cooked until just tender
  • 4 cups grated mozzarella cheese

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 350°F.

In a bowl, stir together the ricotta cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, egg, salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the sausage and cook, stirring and crumbling with a fork, until lightly browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a colander set over a bowl and let drain, then transfer the sausage to a clean bowl.

Add the mushrooms to the sauté pan, increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to the bowl with the sausage, add the parsley and stir to combine.

Spread 1 cup of the pasta sauce on the bottom of a large baking dish.

To start the layering process, cover the sauce with one-fourth of the lasagna noodles in a single layer. Spread one-third of the ricotta mixture over the noodles. Spread 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese over the ricotta mixture. Pour 1 cup of the sauce over the mozzarella. Sprinkle one-third of the sausage mixture over the sauce. Repeat the layering twice, finishing with a layer of sauce. Then top with a final layer of noodles and 1 cup of the sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella. Cover and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake until the lasagna is golden and bubbling, about 30 minutes more. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the remaining pasta sauce. Transfer to a small bowl and pass at the table.
Serves 12.
Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.