Italian Sausage Lasagna with Zucchini Noodles {Small-Batch}

Turkey Italian Sausage Lasagna with Zucchini Noodles by My Utensil Crock

I have so been looking forward to posting this Italian Sausage Lasagna with Zucchini Noodles.

Turkey Italian Sausage Lasagna with Zucchini Noodles by My Utensil CrockIt actually started as a “Thanksgiving leftovers” recipe, of all things, when I had considered using shredded leftover roasted turkey in the filling. But I had a slight fail with making a roasted turkey breast a month before Thanksgiving during a time that it appears food bloggers are much more interested in obtaining turkey than turkeys are in providing it. No turkey to be found in stores. So I browned up some turkey Italian sausage I had in my fridge (probably for Make Ahead Breakfast Sandwiches), and served it at my Friendsgiving Leftovers Blog Experimental Situation.

The lasagna was NOT: pretty.

It was: a huge hit. My friends named it “Lasagne: If the Pilgrims were Italian!”

My friends kept encouraging me to take pictures because it was so good. I laughed as I did so, and looking through my computer now,  I didn’t even save them. I promised my friends that after some adjustments, we would all be happier.

Lasagnas can be soupy when they come out of the oven, but I thought I had maybe made a few missteps. It was SO soupy. Maybe the zucchini noodles hadn’t soaked long enough? Maybe I shouldn’t have used fresh mozzarella? {Note, this posted recipe does not use fresh mozzarella.} No one at the Friendsgiving Situation cared, mind you. They dug in (to their bowls) and said they could eat it all day, and kept asking for the recipe. This lasagna is a total comfort food that they didn’t feel bad eating – lots of veggies and tomato sauce, and ricotta and mozzarella cheese. I loved that they loved it, even though it was not beautiful. Because let’s face it, despite this blog and my photos, my dinner table rarely looks like my foodgawker gallery.

I was nervous that maybe it just wouldn’t be a pretty recipe, and I’d have to make up a title like “Lasagna Stew” or invent a series called “Things You Eat in Yoga Pants when No One is Watching.” {NORA! Take a note. This is an excellent idea.} {Query: Could it be such an excellent idea that it brings Nora back to help me out? Stay tuned.}

I was not ready to release it into the world.

Turkey Italian Sausage Lasagna with Zucchini Noodles by My Utensil Crock

Until now.

To be fair, these pictures were taken of a second, more recent, lasagna, the day after baking, with an overnight refrigeration and a reheat. Which explains that amazing top-coat of golden cheese.

But all is well, and beautiful (and cheesy).

Turkey Italian Sausage Lasagna with Zucchini Noodles by My Utensil Crock

These pictures do this Italian Sausage Lasagna with Zucchini Noodles recipe justice. I wish I had a fork right now. And some of this lasagna to dig into with it.

Turkey Italian Sausage Lasagna with Zucchini Noodles by My Utensil Crock

Have you tried zucchini noodles in a lasagna? How about from this Ratatouille Lasagna recipe? No? You are missing out.

Now is your big chance.

Just use a mandoline (on a thin setting) or a vegetable peeler (pressing very hard), and make long, wide strips. This recipe makes an 8″x8″ pan and used one large zucchini.

Turkey Italian Sausage Lasagna with Zucchini Noodles by My Utensil Crock

You won’t miss the noodles.

And you will love the added veggies, via the zucchini and spinach.

Turkey Italian Sausage Lasagna with Zucchini Noodles by My Utensil CrockPractically a health food, right? Enjoy!

4.0 from 1 reviews
Italian Sausage Lasagna with Zucchini Noodles {Small-Batch}
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Zucchini noodles and cups of fresh spinach add a healthy punch to this cheesy, comforting lasagna. Made in a small batch for when you need 4 servings.
Author:
Recipe type: Pasta, Lasagna, Comfort Food
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 8" x 8" pan - 4 servings
Ingredients
For the zucchini "noodles":
  • 1 large, or 2 medium, zucchini
  • kosher salt
For the sauce:
  • 28 oz. can whole plum tomatoes
  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves sliced garlic
  • 3 T tomato paste
  • 1 T dried basil
  • 1 c water
  • kosher salt, to your taste
For the filling:
  • 1 lb Italian sausage (I use turkey Italian sausage)
  • 3 - 4 oz. baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1.5 c ricotta cheese {have you made your own ricotta cheese yet?}
And the cheeses:
  • Shredded mozzarella - I use an 8 oz block and shred it. It makes about 1.5 - 2 cups.
  • .25 c grated parmesan
Instructions
Make the zucchini "noodles":
  1. Slice the zucchini long-ways on a mandoline, or press very hard using a veggie peeler to get the widest, thickest strip you can. You may want to make a flat bottom on the zucchini if you use a veggie peeler, so it doesn't get slippery and roll away. And watch your fingers if using the mandoline - use the finger-guard that comes with it!
  2. Discard the first slice (or save for a different purpose), which will be all green skin.
  3. Lay the slices in a single layer on paper towel, and very lightly sprinkle the zucchini with salt. You will need a few layers for all of the zucchini slices; place paper towel in between each layer.
  4. Let sit for 10-15 minutes (or up to an hour).
Get the sauce started:
  1. Pour the can of whole tomatoes, including its juice, into a large bowl, and lower the bowl into the sink.
  2. Crush the tomatoes by hand, pulling them into bite-sized chunks. They will (almost definitely) squirt when you pierce them with your fingers; this is why the bowl is in the sink. You may wish to also wear an apron!
  3. Heat a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1 T olive oil. When it's hot, swirl it around the pan, and add the sliced garlic. Cook the garlic just until it starts to brown.
  4. Lower the temperature a bit. Add the tomato paste and the tomatoes you have crushed. Stir well to incorporate it. Add the basil and salt and stir; add the water and stir.
  5. Once it's boiling, lower the heat to a simmer. Put the lid on loosely (leave room for water to evaporate) and let it simmer until it's thick enough that you can't tell there was ever a cup of water in it. Stir occasionally.
Make and combine the filling:
  1. Remove the sausage from its casing and cook in a skillet over medium-high heat, breaking it up as you go. Saute until it is cooked through, and remove it to a bowl or plate when it's done.
  2. Add the spinach to the empty pan where you cooked the sausage. Add a little water - like, a Tablespoon or two - if you need to, and cook the spinach until it is bright green. But try to just cook it with the heat and sausage grease left in the pan. Turn off the heat and leave the spinach in the pan - the less moisture the spinach brings to the filling, the better.
  3. In a medium bowl, scrable the egg with a fork. Add the ricotta cheese, sausage, and spinach. Stir it up. Normally when using this much spinach, I would add salt, but the sausage brings enough flavor that I don't think it's needed.
Assemble and bake the lasagna:
  1. Heat the oven to 425 and grab an 8" x 8" pan (I use pyrex).
  2. Line up the zucchini noodle plate, the sauce (with a ladle or large serving spoon), the filling (with a spoon), and the cheeses.
  3. Ladle a very thin layer of sauce into the bottom of the pan, just to barely cover the surface.
  4. Next add a single layer of zucchini noodles.
  5. Spoon the ricotta and sausage mixture in dollops over the zucchini, and spread/smush it as best you can. Use no more than half the mixture, but if less looks good to you, go with that.
  6. Ladle tomato sauce over the top.
  7. Sprinkle one third of the mozzarella and the parmesan over the sauce.
  8. Add another single layer of zucchini noodles. I like to have these facing the same way as the first layer, for easier cutting.
  9. Then the ricotta mixture again.
  10. Then more tomato sauce.
  11. Then another third of the mozzarella and parmesan.
  12. Then more zucchini noodles. You may be down to smaller shapes - try laying them in a diagonal pattern, if it seems like they would fit better that way to you. It will be covered in cheese, so it doesn't really matter.
  13. Then the remaining sauce, topped with the remaining mozzarella and parmesan.
  14. Cover with foil. At this point, you can refrigerate it until you are ready to bake it, or you can put it right in the oven.
  15. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes, or until the cheese is to your liking.
  16. As noted in the blog post, it may be soupy, but it will be good. As with any lasagna recipe, let it rest a bit before cutting into it, if you can. If you have to spoon into it, so be it. Refrigerate anything you don't eat immediately, and you will love how it looks and tastes when reheated in the oven. Microwave works too, of course, if you are on the go!
Notes
I love one-dish meals, when I don't have to think about a side course. Perfect for work lunches and solo weeknight meals.

Turkey Italian Sausage Lasagna with Zucchini Noodles by My Utensil Crock

Inspired very generally by: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/roasted-turkey-lasagna.html and http://www.womenshealthmag.com/food/thanksgiving-recipes

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