Lasagna A La Bolognese

Servings: 4-6                  Prep Time: 15 minutes               Cook Time: 45 minutes

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Who doesn’t love a hearty lasagna or a bold bolognese sauce? Here’s a family weeknight meal that combines both of those flavors, is easy to make and easy to eat! Warning, this is definitely NOT a diet meal, it’s more like a cheat meal. That’s why I only used a small square 8 x 8″ baking pan and not a 9 x 13″ baking pan!

Ingredients – 

  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil (I like to use Colavita brand.)
  • 4 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped (You could use pancetta but it’s much saltier than bacon.)
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, roughly chopped (I happened to have both type of onions so I used both.)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of baby carrots, finely chopped (You could use 1-2 whole carrots if you have it.)
  • 1 lb. of mild Italian sausage
  • 1-25 oz jar of marinara sauce
  • 8 oz. of sliced mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 9 oz. box of Barilla oven-ready lasagna
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sprinkle of dried Italian herbs (basil, oregano, thyme)
  • Fresh basil, julienned for topping if you like

Directions – 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

When I’m in a hurry I microwave my bacon. I used a microwave-safe plate and lined it with a paper towel    below and on top of the bacon and cooked it on high for 5 minutes.

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Meanwhile, chop the onions, scallions and mince shallots and garlic.

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Add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to a medium heated pan and add the onions, garlic and carrots. Lightly salt and pepper the pan. Remember that the bacon is already salty. Cook for a few minutes on low heat until carrots are tender and onions have caramelized a little.

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Then add the chopped bacon and sauté for another minute.

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I used Johnsonville mild sausage. If I had ground beef I would have added it as well.

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Brown the sausage until no longer pink.

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Then add the whole jar of marinara sauce. I like to use San Marzano Marinara sauce made with heirloom tomatoes. It’s the bomb!

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Sprinkle in Italian herbs and salt and pepper to-taste. Cook for about 5 minutes.

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Now you can begin to assemble your lasagna. Spoon a small amount of the sauce on the bottom of the baking dish.

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Then put your first layer of flat lasagna noodles. The Barilla Oven-Ready Lasagna is our favorite in our family. It’s easy to use too because you don’t have to boil it first. You just use it straight from the package and it will cook in the oven. I find that it breaks less easily than the other kind as well. After you have put down a layer of pasta, add the meat sauce until it has covered the pasta.

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Here’s where it gets fabulous, each layer gets a full coverage of mozzarella cheese! Yup, I told you this isn’t a “diet” meal.

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Repeat this 2 more times. The top should be a layer of the sliced mozzarella cheese again and to top it off I like to sprinkle on the shredded cheddar cheese here to give it that yellowy color on top. Cover with tin foil and place the baking pan on top of a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Then remove the tin foil and bake for another 10 minutes at 425 degrees. I added in cheesy garlic bread for the last 10 minutes of cooking so they were both done at the same time.;-)

I did have basil that I had planned on sprinkling on top of the lasagna but it didn’t make it that far. I also didn’t make a salad either. This went straight in my belly, twice!

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I made my family play a trivia game during dinner and guess what was in the lasagna. It was funny! They didn’t know half of the ingredients. That’s what I love about chopping up vegetables really small, they can’t even really taste it and don’t know they’re eating them until after I tell them and I love the surprised look on their faces.

This is basically a lasagna dish with some bolognese flavors. You can add and substitute so many different ingredients in here but I was trying to keep it simple. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this and any of my other recipes. Bon Appétit!

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