Free-Form Sausage and Three Cheese Lasagna

"This is from Food & Wine January 2010. It's called free-form because the pasta can be arranged in different ways - for instance, folded over the filling - instead of traditionally layered. The unbaked lasagna can also be refigerated overnight. They suggest the rich, peppery Primitivo: 2006 Castello Monaci Puiluna."
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Ready In:
1hr 55mins




  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook lasagna noodles until almost tender, about 5 minutes, then drain. Pat noodles dry then transfer to bowl and toss with olive oil.
  • In a medium skillet, heat 1 tbl of the olive oil. Add Italian sausage, cover and cook over moderate heat, turning once, until browned all over. Add the water, cover and simmer until the sausage is just cooked through, about 4 minutes.
  • In a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tbls of olive oil. Add the garlic and cook over low heat until golden, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes with their juices and cook over moderate heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the sausage and its poaching liquid and simmer for 4 minutes. Transfer sausage to a plate. Simmer the sauce over moderate heat until thickened, about 12 minutes. Coarsely break up the sausage and season the sauce with salt and pepper.
  • In a well-buttered, 9 x 13 inch ceramic baking dish, arrange 3 lasagna noodles in different directions in the dish, leaving about 2 inches of overhang. Spoon a scant 1/4 cup of the tomato sauce over each lasagna noodle and sprinkle with a little grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Set a piece of mozzarella and Fontina on each lasagna noodle and add a few chunks of sausage.
  • Fold the overhanging lasagna noodles on top of the cheese and sausage.
  • Repeat the process with the remaining lasagna noodles, tomato sauce, mozzarella, Fontina and sausage sprinkling with a litle more Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
  • Brush the softened butter on any bare pasta and curly edges and sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano.
  • Bake on the top rack of the oven for 20 minutes, until the sauce starts to bubble. Raise the oven temp to 450 degrees and bake for about 7 minutes longer until the top is richly browned.
  • Let the lasagna rest for about 10 minutes, then scatter the sliced basil on top.

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