I used to be an avid 30 Minute Meal and Rachael Ray fan. However, I’ve since decided she’s just a little too over the top for me. Her personality has really changed, or maybe it’s just her tv persona, since I first started watching her. She’s louder, more obnoxious and all her meals are pretty much the same.
I was just mentioning to Hubby a few weeks ago that I was in need of a lasagna fix. When I saw this recipe posted on Sweetnicks last week and knew I had to make it for dinner very soon. It had just about all the same components and took less time. Who cares where the recipe originated from, right?
I try to do all my grocery shopping on one day (usually Sundays, after church) so I don’t have to go during the week. This week we had plans to see my in-laws, which meant, meal-planning and shopping fell on Saturday. First thing on my list, Mock-sagna. Sweetnicks called it Deconstructed Lasagna and Rachael’s title was way too long. Plus, Mock-sagna sounds like something Rachael should have named it anyway.
I didn’t go through the whole process of chopping onions and garlic and making my own “red sauce”. I know it’s supposed to be a 30 minute meal and making a red sauce doesn’t take alot of time, but I have no problem Sandra Lee’ing it when I want to. (I am not condoning Miss Cocktail Time, I’m just saying). This was one of those times. I used one pound of italian sausage and a jar of organic tomato basil pasta sauce. Less ingredients and much easier. No, I didn’t buy a jar of alfredo. That stuff is gross.
Here’s my version of the recipe. I modified and added so many things, Rachael’s recipe was more like inspiration. It did take less than 30 minutes and it was fabulous. I’d show you a picture, but it would have been of an empty bowl. Some people can make that look artistic…mine would just look messy and dirty. Hahaha.
¾ pound whole grain short & curly pasta (closest I could find was a type of rotini – similar shape, but looser)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound italian sausage
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 jar of marinara (use your favorite – mine is currently Classico Sweet Tomato Basil, but I couldn’t find any at the store this time, so I used Full Circle Tomato Basil)
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
salt & pepper
½ cup grated parmesan
½ cup part skim ricotta cheese
fresh mozzarella, as much or as little as you’d like
fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped, enough for garnish
Heat large pot of water to a boil, salt water and cook pasta to al dente; drain and set aside.
While pasta water comes to a boil, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic cloves and sausage. Sauté until sausage is brown and cooked through. Pour entire jar of marinara sauce into the skillet, reduce heat to simmer and cover.
While sauce cooks, melt butter in pot over medium heat (I accidentally omitted the step where Rachel rubs the garlic around the pot before melting the butter. I would highly recommend doing this). Add in flour and whisk together a minute or so, then whisk in milk and bring to a bubble. Reduce heat, then season with salt & pepper (to taste). Let the sauce thicken, about 8-10 minutes.
Toss pasta with white sauce, parmesan and ricotta. Serve pasta in individual bowls and place a few slices of fresh mozzarella on top then a ladle of meat sauce. Garnish with parsley.