I tend to freeze all my leftovers and eventually the freezer gets full and I decide to get creative. I had a jar of tomato sauce, frozen meat sauce my husband made a few weeks ago, a container of tomato sauce and meatballs my neighbor brought me and frozen German sausage. I would have preferred Italian sausage but as my daughter says “you what you get and you don’t get upset” so I dealt. What is great about lasagna is that you only need a few ingredients and it is very versatile. You can use any meat you have – sausage, ground beef, ground chicken, pancetta, etc any any tomato sauce you like.
As far as the homemade pasta goes that does take work. I did not have any ready made lasagna sheets but I did have flour and eggs and some free time so fresh pasta it was. But dried lasagna sheets would work just as well I would suggest the no boil type. With fresh pasta it is so thin and delicate there is no need to boil the sheets first.
First we cooked some onions in oil for a few mins
Then we added the chopped sausage – we did not add the other meats as they were already mixed into the various frozen tomato sauces we had accumulated through our recent cooking adventures. Usually I would brown the meat first and then cook the onions in the meat fat but..ooops.
Then we added some garlic, Worcestershire and deglazed with a little red wine.
Then we added our various tomato and meat sauces and cooked it in the pressure cooker for about an hour but you could also simmer it on your stovetop instead for 2.5 hours or so
While that was cooking I made the pasta. The recipe is super simple: 1 cup flour for two large eggs (thank you Marcella Hazan) but my eggs were jumbo eggs so I ended up using like 2.5 cups of flour for my four eggs. I doubled the recipe because I was making a large tray.
I would start with 2 cups and then slowly add more flour as needed so it is not sticky. You will know the dough is ready when you can stick your finger in it and it comes out clean. Place the dough on a floured surface.
You will want to have extra flour available as you will need it to flour the pans you place the sheets in, to put through the pasta roller so it doesn’t stick, and to keep on your hands. Set up a few sheet pans or a counter to lay the dough.
Cut the dough into about 8 pieces and dip them in flour. Flour the machine and then roll them out as per your machine’s directions. Pretty much what you do is run it through at each number 1 or 2 times. Starting at 1 and then I went to number 6. It takes time but as long as you have room its not hard.
Why not just start at 6? I did that by accident a few times when I forgot to turn the dial between balls of dough – the dough will tear. The machine kneads it as you roll it.
Once the dough and sauce was finished we grated the cheese and were ready for assembly
I always start with a layer of sauce on the bottom and then the first layer of pasta and then repeat. Depending on how much cheese I have I put a layer of mozzarella in the middle. If I do not have that much cheese I just put the layer of mozzarella on top. My husband doesn’t like ricotta/white sauce so this lasagna lacks it but of course you could put a layer of that as well. This lasagna I made in a large sheet pan so it was only a few layers high but if you prefer you could put it in a smaller pan and make more layers. It doesn’t matter.
I forgot to take a picture of the last layer with cheese on top before I covered it but I am sure you get the idea
Cover with foil and bake at 400 for 30 minutes or so until its bubbly and the cheese is completely melted. Then take off the foil and cook a few more minutes until slightly browned on top.
I should have let it rest a few minutes before I cut a piece but we were so hungry…if you can let it rest for 5-10 minutes before you cut it so it does not fall apart so much.