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Pesto sausage lasagna with homemade sauce (and tons of herbs)

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This pesto sausage lasagna is definitely a bit more complicated than my usual recipes, but still not too difficult! I wanted to try my hand at the dish and I had mountains of herbs to use, so I put together a pesto sauce to mix into the meat mixture. I also used Marcela Hazan’s sauce technique, just with different proportions. If I were going to improve this recipe I’d say increase the sauce by another 1/3 of the recipe.

Here’s how to make this pesto sausage lasagna:

Ingredients:

1 10 0z package of lasagna noodles (can use gluten free if you wish)

For the sauce:

  • Two large cans Italian whole peeled tomatoes
  • One stick of butter
  • One onion
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the filling:

  • One lb. turkey sausage
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Two tablespoons garlic
  • A large bundle of herbs — I used basil, oregano and thyme. I used a big heap from my garden but if you are using herbs from the store go for fresh and double what you would usually use.
  • One onion, chopped finely
  • One 16 oz container of ricotta cheese
  • Mozzarella and Parmesan to taste (probably about a cup each)

Directions:

For the sauce, peel one onion and chop it in half lengthwise. Place the onion halves face down in a sauce pan. Add the two cans of tomatoes and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, smashing the tomatoes down with a wooden spoons. Add the stick of butter (cut into pieces), and allow them to slowly melt into the mixture. Salt to taste. Slow to simmer at least forty minutes. Remove the onion halves and discard.

For the filling, dice the other onion finely. Add it to a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet and sauté until translucent, about five minutes. Add the pound of sausage, breaking into tiny pieces and allowing to sauté slowly. While it’s cooking, take the heap of herbs and toss them into a high speed blender with two tablespoons of garlic (or about 8 cloves) and about 1/4 cup olive oil, or more as you need it. Blend into a fine pesto-like paste.

Add the herb mixture to the meat mixture and stir until combined. The mixture will be green.

While the meat and sauce simmer, boil a large pot of water and add the lasagna noodles. I always add about a tablespoon of oil and a teaspoon of salt to my pasta water. You’ll want to watch these noodles and stir closely and carefully, because when lasagna noodles stick together they are difficult to work with!

Once the noodles are done, turn off the heat on the other two pans and let everything cool just a bit. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and grab a large casserole dish. Lay a layer of noodles across the bottom of the pan. Add about a cup of the sauce, and then spoon about 1/2 of the meat mixture on top. Then spoon about half of the ricotta in dollops, spreading as evenly as you can. Add about another half cup of sauce. Add some mozzarella, about a half cup (or more). Repeat this process. After you have the second layer, add one last layer of noodles, and the remaining sauce. Top with the remaining mozzarella and as much Parmesan as you can stand. Bake the whole dish for about 30 minutes. Let it stand for ten minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Pesto Sausage Lasagna

Servings 12

Ingredients

  • 1 package lasagna noodles (10 oz)  
  • 30 oz whole peeled tomatoes (two cans)
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1 large onion
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste

Filling

  • 1 lb turkey sausage
  • 2 tbsp garlic (five or six cloves, minced)
  • 2 cups herbs (I used basil, oregano and thyme. I used a big heap from my garden but if you are using herbs from the store go for fresh and double what you would usually use.)
  • 1 large onion, chopped finely
  • 16 oz ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup mozzarella, shredded
  • 1 cup parmesan, shredded
  • salt to taste (about a teaspoon)
  • pepper to taste

Instructions

  • For the sauce, peel one onion and chop it in half lengthwise. Place the onion halves face down in a sauce pan. Add the two cans of tomatoes and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, smashing the tomatoes down with a wooden spoons. Add the stick of butter (cut into pieces), and allow them to slowly melt into the mixture. Salt to taste. Slow to simmer at least forty minutes. Remove the onion halves and discard. 

For the filling:

  • Dice the other onion finely. Add it to a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet and sauté until translucent, about five minutes. Add the pound of sausage, breaking into tiny pieces and allowing to sauté slowly. While it’s cooking, take the heap of herbs and toss them into a high speed blender with two tablespoons of garlic (or about 8 cloves) and about 1/4 cup olive oil, or more as you need it. Blend into a fine pesto-like paste. Add the herb mixture to the meat mixture and stir until combined. The mixture will be green. 

Putting it together

  • While the meat and sauce simmer, boil a large pot of water and add the lasagna noodles. I always add about a tablespoon of oil and a teaspoon of salt to my pasta water. You’ll want to watch these noodles and stir closely and carefully, because when lasagna noodles stick together they are difficult to work with! Once the noodles are done, turn off the heat on the other two pans and let everything cool just a bit. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and grab a large casserole dish. Lay a layer of noodles across the bottom of the pan. Add about a cup of the sauce, and then spoon about 1/2 of the meat mixture on top. Then spoon about half of the ricotta in dollops, spreading as evenly as you can. Add about another half cup of sauce. Add some mozzarella, about a half cup (or more). Repeat this process. After you have the second layer, add one last layer of noodles, and the remaining sauce. Top with the remaining mozzarella and as much Parmesan as you can stand. Bake the whole dish for about 30 minutes. Let it stand for ten minutes before serving. Enjoy! 

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Shop my LTK shop @Modern_Hippie_Kitchen for these fun fall baking essentials!

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