As far as I’m concerned, winter doesn’t start on December 21 — it starts on the first Monday after we roll the clocks back. There might not be snow on the ground, but if it’s dark out when I’m leaving work, it is definitely winter. Usually this day is a huge bummer (in my mind), but this year it was also a day worth celebrating, since it marked the last day I’ll ever have to see another stupid ad for Question 7 in Maryland!
So this lasagna was both a cheer-up-even-though-summer-is-over dinner and a hooray-political-ad-season-is-over! dinner. And it was really, really good. It’s a little decadent for a weeknight, what with all the cheese and the cream sauce, but the day after we turn the clocks back comes but once a year!
WINTER WHITE LASAGNA (adapted from Rachael Ray’s Big Orange Book)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 1/2 pounds fresh sweet or hot Italian chicken sausage, removed from the casings (I used a sundried tomato chicken sausage, and it was delish)
1 lb fresh spinach
salt and pepper
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
2 cups chicken stock
a pinch of nutmeg
1 box no-boil lasagna noodles
4 cups shredded provolone or mozzarella cheese
1. Preheat oven to 375. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook, breaking it up with a spoon, until crumbled and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add spinach a few handfuls at a time and cook until wilted. Season mixture with salt and pepper; reserve.
2. While meat is browning, place large sauce pot over medium heat and melt butter. Sprinkle flour over butter and cook for about 1 minute, stirring. Whisk in milk and chicken stock and bring to a bubble. Season sauce with nutmeg, salt and pepper, then simmer until it thickens, 3-4 minutes.
3. Assemble lasagna by ladling a small amount (about 1/2 cup) of the white sauce into bottom of 9×13 baking dish. Lay 3 lasagna noodles over sauce and top with about 1/3 of the sausage-spinach mixture. Top with about 1 cup of sauce and 1 cup of shredded cheese. Make 2 more layers, laying down 3 lasagna noodles, about 1/3 of the meat-spinach mixture, 1 cup of sauce, and about 1 cup of shredded cheese for each layer. Top lasagna off with last 3 noodles, remaining sauce, and remaining shredded cheese.
4. Cover pan with foil and bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbly.
Mmmm. This was yummy and comforting but not too heavy. I cut it in half and we still had leftovers. Yum!