5 cups Tomato Sauce – about 1 ½ jars of 26 ounce store bought
1 ½ pounds Italian sausage (mild or hot depending on your preference)
1 large white or yellow onion – chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup red wine – optional
1 large container Ricotta Cheese
1 cup parmesan cheese – grated or shredded
2 large eggs – beaten
2 teaspoons dried parsley
3 cups mozzarella cheese – grated
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix olive oil with 2 teaspoons dried oregano, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Cut the ends off the eggplant and slice into ¼ inch slices. Brush eggplant slices with olive oil mixture. Grill on a hot, dry grill pan or broil under pre-heated broiler for about 4 – 5 minutes (until browned) and flip, cook on other side until browned and slightly soft about another 3 -4 minutes. It will cook more in the oven so slightly under cooked is ok. Set aside until layering the lasagna.
3. Remove the casing from the Italian sausage and crumble into a large stockpot or skillet that has been heated over medium high heat. (If your pan is not non-stick, add just a touch of olive oil to the pan first. Cook until browned and no longer pink inside, breaking up the sausage as it cooks. Add chopped onion and cook until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds. Add tomato sauce, wine if using and 1 teaspoon dried oregano. Let cook for about 15 minutes until heated through. Check the consistency, you want it a little saucy so if too thick add some water. I usually have to add about 1/4 – 1/3 cups.
4. In a large mixing bowl mix the ricotta cheese with 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, 2 teaspoons dried oregano, the parsley, parmesan cheese and eggs.
5. Brush a large lasagna dish with some olive oil. Ladle in a little bit of the tomato sauce and spread over bottom of dish. Try to just add the sauce, no sausage chunks.
6. Layer half the eggplant slices in the bottom. Add half the ricotta mixture then top with half the sauce. Repeat layering.
7. Top with mozzarella cheese and spread evenly over the top.
8. Bake about 1 hour until hot and bubbling and cheese is browned.
Trust me; no one will miss the noodles!
BTW – if you have extra eggplant slices keep them. Serve cold or room temp with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Yum!