White Lasagna

Rich came across a recipe on Taste of Home that he wanted me to try so, when we had some family up, I thought I’d experiment.

Hey, if you can’t experiment on family, who can you experiment on?

I know I posted a lasagna recipe a while back that is mostly white, with just a topping of red sauce – Julia Child’s Lasagna a la Française – but this one goes in another whole direction, using Italian sausage and cream cheese and half and half and stuff…

Well, let’s just start in on it, shall we?

But first; a note on cottage cheese. I only use full fat products because, have you seen what they put into the “lite/light/no fat” versions? It is not pretty. So, full fat cottage cheese is still only 4% – and naturally contains less fat than ricotta, so win. But. Check the ingredients! Note them on this container of Daisy® cottage cheese. Simple, right? Compare to ingredients on some other 4% cottage cheeses. There is a hoooge difference.

•Olive oil
•9 lasagna noodles
•1 lb bulk Italian sausage
•2 cups diced onion
•2 cups diced celery
•1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
•3 garlic cloves, minced
•1/2 cup white wine
•1 cup half and half
•1 tbsp Sherry peppers Sauce*
•3 oz cream cheese, cubed
•1/4 cup minced fresh basil
•1/2 tsp dried oregano
•1 tsp black pepper
•1 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1/2 tsp Seasoned Salt
•1 egg, lightly beaten
•2 cups shredded white Cheddar cheese
•2 cups cottage cheese
•Sliced Mozzarella cheese
•Sliced Swiss cheese

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Heat your oven to 375º.

Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.

Add the sausage, onion, celery, garlic, and Sherry Peppers Sauce and cook for about ten minutes, breaking up the sausage as you cook, until the sausage is no longer pink.

Drain, if you feel the need to, but my store made sausage did not leave a lot of fat after cooking.

Add the white wine, bring to a boil, and cook for four minutes, until the liquid is reduced by about half.

Reduce the heat to medium low, then add in the half and half, cream cheese, and seasonings, stirring until blended and the cream cheese has melted.

In a small bowl, stir the egg together with the shredded Cheddar and cottage cheese.

Brush the bottom of a rectangular 2-1/2 quart baking pan with one tablespoon of olive oil and arrange three lasagna noodles across the bottom of the pan.

Spread half of the sausage mixture over the noodles, then spread half of the Cheddar and cottage cheese mixture over that. Top with Mozzarella slices.

Repeat with three more noodles, the remaining sausage mixture, remaining Cheddar and cottage cheese blend, and more Mozzarella slices.

Top with three more noodles and the Swiss cheese slices.

Note: I had some of that basil paste in the fridge that needed using up, so I spread a bit of that over the top of the Swiss cheese.

Now, and this is very important. You may have noted that I did not cook the noodles; nor did I call for the “no-boil” variety. That is because they are all no-boil; if you do this…

Cover the pan tightly with foil, place on a large, rimmed baking sheet (in case of spilling) and pop into the oven for 50 minutes or so.

Pull out of the oven and remove the foil. It’ll look something like this.

Noodles tender, cheese nicely melted, but…

a bit pale, so, back into the oven, uncovered this time, for another 15 minutes.

Now that, my friends, is some nicely melted and browned cheese.

And our white (well, more beige?) lasagna is almost ready.

Let the lasagna rest for 15 minutes, then go ahead and serve.

Done deal, and wicked tasty!

Also a nice change from the more usual method and flavors.

And, as with most dishes like this, the leftovers were even better the next day, so, mebbe think about pre-baking tightly covered the night before, then cooling and stashing in the fridge. The next day, cook for mebbe 30 minutes, then uncover and cook until you achieve golden cheese-y perfection.

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