Thursday, September 12, 2013

"Out of this World" Sausage and Spinach Lasagna

When I first made this lasagna some children turned their noses up at this "non traditional" lasagna. One of my goals with the Yipson Foods school lunch program was to give children a chance to experience some different and more healthy foods. It took a little coaxing to get some children to try a bite of the lasagna. I remember one six year old in particular did not want to try this dish....he wanted "real lasagna." I promised him I would make "real lasagna" one day but I really wanted him to try one bite of this lasagna. The boy relented and tried one bite. After he finished his bite he gave me two thumbs up. I said "So, the lasagna is good?" the boy said "No, it's out of this world!"

Sausage and Spinach Lasagna
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup fat free milk
1 cup unsalted chicken stock
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 bay leaf
dash of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 (8 oz) package fresh spinach
1/2 pound turkey or chicken sweet Italian sausage links
1/2 cup chopped shallots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
6 whole wheat lasagna noodles (uncooked)
1 1/2 cups part skim ricotta cheese
1 ounce shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
1 ounce shredded fresh Mozzarella cheese
Cooking Spray

  1. Preheat oven 375 degrees.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat mix flour, milk, stock, oil and bay leaf. Cook 8-10 minutes stirring constantly with a whisk, until thick and bubbly.
  3. Remove from heat. Add salt and pepper.
  4. Spread 1 cup of the white sauce in the bottom of an 11"x7"or 12"x8" ceramic or glass baking dish coated with cooking spray.
  5. Heat large skillet over medium heat. Add two tablespoons of water to the pan. Cook 2-4 minutes until spinach wilts. Drain spinach and press to remove excess water. Set spinach aside.
  6. Increase heat to medium high and heat the large skillet. Remove the casing from sausage. Add sausage to pan. Stir the sausage to crumble. Cook until sausage is browned and completely cooked.  Remove sausage from pan. Set aside.
  7. Add garlic and shallots to pan. Saute 2 minutes.
  8. Stir in remaining milk mixture, spinach and cooked sausage. Remove pan from heat.
  9. Place two noodles side by side on milk mixture in baking dish. Top with 1/2 cup ricotta cheese and 1/3 of the spinach mixture. Repeat two times.
  10. Sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.
  11. Cover with foil coated with cooking spray.
  12. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes. Remove foil.
  13. Preheat broiler to high.
  14. Place lasagna under broil and broil 4-6 minutes until cheese is golden brown.
  15. Let stand 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.