Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Big Papa's Lasagna

     You know how the other day I was talking about how I've been feeling homesick, and I've been cooking wonderfully comforting foods that are horrible for my hips?  Yeah, that's still going on.  Lucky for you, though, tonight I'll be sharing my wonderfully-comforting-yet-horribly-fattening recipe.  Tonight's homesick cure is in honor of my step-daddy.  He makes the world's best lasagna!  Seriously, it's so good and rich, with chunks of cream cheese sprinkled throughout the layers.  Hmmm!  Just thinking about it sets my mouth to watering.  Tonight I decided to recreate it.  So here we go:

Just look at the ooey, gooey goodness!

Big Papa's Lasagna
Lasagna noodles (I only used 8 out of the container)
1 tsp olive oil
1 lb ground Italian sausage
1/2 onion, chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
1 jar pasta sauce
1/3 cup water
Seasonings to taste (I used garlic powder, onion powder, Tony's and Italian seasoning)
1 egg
1 (15 oz) container ricotta cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 (8 oz) package shredded Italian cheese blend
3 oz cream cheese, cut into small cubes and divided

Cook pasta according to package directions, adding olive oil to help prevent sticking.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  

While the pasta is cooking, cook meat, onion, and garlic in a large skillet over med-high heat.  Add pasta sauce, water, and seasonings.  Stir until blended and warm throughout.  Turn off heat and set aside.  In a medium bowl, beat egg.  Add ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, and a handful of the Italian cheese blend to the bowl.  Mix well, and set aside.

Heat oven to 375.  In a 2-quart baking dish, ladle just enough meat mixture to cover the bottom of the pan.  

Add noodles, trimming to fit. (I had to cut 2 in half lengthwise.)  Spread 1/3 ricotta mix over the noodles.  Top that with 1/3 meat mixture.  Sprinkle 1/3 Italian cheese blend over that and 1/2 of cream cheese cubes.  Repeat.  

Finish off by spreading remaining 1/3 ricotta mix over noodles.  Pour remaining 1/3 meat mix over that.  Sprinkle with remaining Italian cheese blend.  Bake at 375 for 35 minutes, or until all cheese is melted and bubbly.  

     Thankfully I'm going home tomorrow, albeit for a few hours, but hopefully it will be enough to keep  me from indulging in anymore comfort food for a while.  I'm working on a half-marathon, but I don't think even my running schedule will be able to keep up if I don't stop with all this food!

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