When we visited Z’s family on the West Coast we got the same question a few different ways: “Z, do you eat mostly vegetarian food these days?” One question may have come from a place of pity (“Poor Z, he must miss burgers and steak”) and another question from a place of concern (“Vegetarian food is much healthier”).
Then there are A’s coworkers who don’t yet know about the blog. The vegetarian reveal tends to lead to questions such as “Is your fiance a vegetarian?” and/or “Are you okay with him eating meat?” and/or the favorite “Does he make you cook meat for him?”
The truth is, as you can see from the blog, we cook mostly vegetarian entrees, which we can both eat, and make smaller portions of meat to supplement the meal. This week, for example, we were detoxing on miso soup and soba noodles and experimenting with small filets of flounder.
That’s not always the case, though. In the case of the lasagna below, our inspiration was vegetarian Smitten Kitchen’s Amazing Mushroom Bechamel Lasagna. But we were having our meat-loving friends over and we wanted an equally filling and satisfying alternative. This is what we came up with. We’ve made it a few times now and it is always a hit. We didn’t have many final-product pictures to choose from because we always seem to make it for guests and it always gets gobbled up before we realize we haven’t finished getting our photos. Alas…
Spicy Sausage Lasagna
1 lb Spicy Sausages
1 28oz can crushed tomatos
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp butter
1 large onion, diced
15 oz ricotta
3/4 lb mozarella
1 c parmesan
1 box (8-9oz) oven ready lasagna noodles
Chop the onions. Put the olive oil in a heavy bottom sauce-pan and turn the heat on low. Soften the onions for about two minutes. Then pour in the crushed tomatoes and add the sugar, salt and butter. Cover and let it simmer for 1 hour.
Remove the casing and fry up the sausage. Add the sausage to the tomato sauce and continue to simmer.
Grate the mozzarella and the parm and combine with the ricotta. Mix thoroughly.
Start the laying process by adding some sauce to the bottom of the pan. Then add noodles, sauce, cheese, noodles, sauce, cheese, noodles, sauce, cheese.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes remove the aluminum foil and bake for another 10. Enjoy!
So, if you are a meat-eater (with or without a vegetarian fiance) or a vegetarian who cooks meat (with or without being forced to) for a meat-eater, or if you are none of the above, give this a try. It’s not the fastest mid-week meal, but it is worth the effort no matter why you are making it.