by Colette Wimmer
My big, food-loving Italian family always has an Italian entree with our traditional Thanksgiving Dinner. This year all of the guys wanted lasagna, but I wanted to give it a twist. I thought that the best way to do that was to tweak the sauce.1/3 pound each of lean ground beef, spicy Italian sausage and sweet Italian sausage (bulk or casings removed)
I played around with different sauces and decided that a Rosa sauce would compliment the flavors of the other Thanksgiving offerings, boy was I right! Everyone flipped for this version of our traditional lasagna.
This makes a very large lasagna in a deep 13x9 pan.
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup red wine
2 jars of a basic marinara sauce (Barilla tomato and basil works well)
2 large can of diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and Montreal Steak Seasoning (to taste)
16 oz. cream cheese
Brown all of the meats, medium heat, in a dutch oven with the chopped onions and minced garlic.
Once meat has been browned, add wine and simmer for about a minute.
Add the marinara sauce, diced tomatoes and balsamic vinegar.
Taste the sauce and add salt and my secret ingredient - Montreal Steak Seasoning to taste. Add the cream cheese and stir to incorporate into the sauce.
Add more salt and Montreal Steak Seasoning if needed.
Allow sauce to simmer while you prepare other elements below.
Mushrooms and Spinach
In a large skillet, medium heat, add 2 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and 1 Tablespoon of butter.
When butter is melted, add 3 cups of sliced baby portabello mushrooms.
Season with seasoning salt and my secret ingredient to taste.
Stir the mushrooms occasionally to ensure even cooking. Once the mushrooms have sauteed for two to three minutes, add 3 cups of prepared baby spinach leaves.
Cover the pan to allow the spinach to wilt, stirring occasionally. Taste the spinach and season if needed.
Using a large ladle, cover the bottom of the lasagna pan with Rosa sauce. Layer oven ready or al dente lasagna noodles to cover the pan.
Ladle more Rosa Sauce to cover noodles.
Drop liberal amounts by spoonful, 1/3 of the spinach and mushrooms, then cottage cheese or ricotta cheese based on your family's preference, so that the lasagna is evenly covered.
Generously cover the lasagna with shredded mozzarella cheese, and sprinkle some grated Parmesan cheese over the lasagna.
Repeat this same process for two more layers. On the last layer, omit the spinach, mushrooms, and cottage or ricotta cheeses... pile on the mozzarella though!
Bake at 350 for 30 to 40 minutes.
Cheese should be melted, a bit browned and the sauce should be bubbling.
Allow the lasagna to sit for 10-15 minutes before serving to allow lasagna to set up.
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