Pizza Lasagna

Have you ever met someone who, when you looked at them, you just knew that they were very intelligent? Well, I recently met the most remarkable 11 year old boy ever. He literally left me speechless and it was all I could do to not feel like an idiot in front of him.

I met this wunderkind at the hospital when he came to visit his grandmother, who had had surgery. When I walked into the patient’s room on the third day of being her nurse, the room was filled with family members. The patient introduced me to her family and when she introduced her grandson, she told me that he liked to cook.

Making small-talk with the boy, I asked him what was his favorite thing to cook. Of course I expected to hear something like ‘macaroni and cheese with ketchup’, but no, oh no-no-no, not this kid. “Well, ” he said as he looked up at me from his grandmother’s wheelchair as if he was about to do a class presentation, “I like to make linguine bolognese.”

What? Those words didn’t sound anything like ‘mac and cheese with ketchup’. As my brain worked quickly to recover, I realized that bolognese is generally made with red wine and I found myself honestly afraid at the thought of an 11 year old working with alcohol. The mother/nurse in me was getting ready to haul every adult in that child’s family to the woodshed if he said anything about using red wine.

Calculating, but with a cheerful voice I said, “That’s so interesting. I’ve just read a number of recipes for bolognese. How do you make yours?”

“Well,” he said. “I start with…”….wait for it, here it comes….”red wine vinegar….”

The kid’s a genus!!!!!” I thought. And then I wanted to hug him to pieces for thinking of a way to get around using wine.

His mom and grandma went on to tell me about more of this boy’s cooking adventures. They talked about how he had made his grandmother a birthday cake and about one of his more interesting creations, pizza lasagna. That one got my curiosity going, but I didn’t ask about the ingredients because I pretty much knew at that moment that I would soon be doing a blog post on pizza lasagna and didn’t want anyone’s recipe to influence me.

We talked off and on for the rest of my shift whenever I would come in to care for his grandmother. I asked him if he ever used the internet to look up recipes or to learn about food. “Oh yes,” he replied nonchalantly. “I read different recipes, then open up Word, and write my own recipe.”

I write mine by hand on scraps of paper or in a notebook, if I can find where I left it last,” I thought.

“So, do you want a career as a chef?” I asked innocently on one of my visits to his grandmother’s room. “No,” he stated matter of fact. “Cooking is my hobby. I want to be a defense lawyer.”

I could feel that proverbial feather knocking me over once again. “Well, honey, if that’s what you want to do, then it is the right thing for you. Go where your heart tells you to go. Always do your best and work hard.” A faint smile crossed the boy’s face and he nodded as he spun his grandmother’s wheelchair around so that he could watch TV.

I’ve thought about pizza lasagna for the past 2 or 3 months trying to figure out how to make a good one. My first attempt went in the garbage. It may sound wasteful to have thrown it away, but it was really bad and I knew that there was no way I was going to eat it and no one else seemed interested in eating any of it, either. I went back to the drawing board and rethought everything. I am obviously satisfied with the final product or else it wouldn’t be sitting here on this blog.

This is a very easy dish to put together. The list of ingredients is long, but you can pick and choose whether to go fully homemade or take some shortcuts such as using a purchased pizza sauce instead of making your own and buying grated cheeses. The ‘toppings’ are flexible and can be tailored to your personal tastes. PLUS the lasagna noodles don’t have to be cooked! Do I have your attention now?

Pizza Lasagna

Terri @ that's some good cookin'

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground Italian sausage
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 (24-ounce) jars pasta sauce or use sauce recipe below (I make homemade sauce)
  • 4 ounces sliced pepperoni
  • 2 cups cottage cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 4 cups grated mozzarella cheese (about 1 pound {16 ounces})
  • 2 cups grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 can black olives, sliced into rings (optional)
  • 1/2 whole green pepper, sliced into rings (optional)
  • 6-10 mushrooms, cleaned and sliced (optional)
  • 1/2 of a small onion, sliced and separated into rings (optional)
  • 12 lasagna noodles, uncooked
  • For the Sauce--May use 2 jars (24 ounces each) favorite pasta sauce OR use the following recipe for a homemade pasta sauce:
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced or tomatoes
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder or granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder or granulated onion

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400-degrees F. Lightly oil a 9- x 13-inch baking dish. Set aside.
  2. Cook the sausage, onion, and garlic together in a seep skillet over medium heat until sausage is browned and onion is translucent.
  3. Add the 2 jars of sauce or the ingredients for the homemade sauce. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently for 5 minutes, then remove from heat. You do not want to reduce the liquid in the sauce because it will be needed to cook the lasagna noodles during the baking process.
  4. While the sauce mixture is simmering, in a medium bowl mix together the cottage cheese, egg, and 1 tablespoon dried parsley. Set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, toss the mozzarella and the Parmesan together. Set aside.
  6. Put a light coating of sauce in the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
  7. Place three lasagna noodles over this thin layer of sauce. There will be some space between the noodles. Don't worry about it because the noodles will expand as they absorb moisture during the cooking process. The noodles will also be too short for the baking dish. Again, no problem. Just take another lasagna noodle and break it into thirds. Place one piece at the end of each of the lasagna noodles to bridge the empty space.
  8. Spread 1/3 of the cottage cheese mixture down the noodles.
  9. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the cheese mixture.
  10. Scatter 1/3 of the sauce mixture over the cheese.
  11. Place about half of the pepperoni slices randomly over the sauce mixture.
  12. 2nd Layer: Repeat layers once more--noodles, cottage cheese mixture, mixed cheeses, sauce, pepperoni.
  13. 3rd Layer: Layer the last of the lasagna noodles and the cottage cheese. Divide the remaining amount of cheese in half and scatter one of the halves over the cottage cheese mixture. Spoon the remaining sauce randomly over the cheeses. Set aside the remaining cheese and the toppings.
  14. Please note: _If you choose to not use any toppings, please follow this order for finishing the pizza lasagna--lasagna noodles, cottage cheese, mixed cheeses, sauce (just spoon it randomly over the cheese).
  15. Bake at 400-degrees for 45 minutes - one hour, until hot and bubbly.During the last 20 minutes of cooking time top with desired toppings such as sliced mushrooms, sliced olives, sliced onions separated into rings, and/or green peppers sliced into rings or strips. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and return to oven to complete baking. Adding the toppings for the final 20 minutes of baking time will allow the vegetables to cook a little past crisp tender, but still retain good color and flavor.
  16. To test to see if the noodles are done, simply stick a small knife down through the middle of the lasagna. It should pass through the noodles easily. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15-20 minutes. Slice into serving pieces. I sliced my lasagna into 15 pieces. It is a very rich and filling dish!
http://tsgcookin.com/2012/03/pizza-lasagna/

/
 In a deep skillet over medium heat, cook the sausage, onions, and garlic until the sausage has browned and the onions are translucent.
/
/
 Add the jarred pasta sauce OR, if making pasta sauce from scratch, add all of the pasta sauce ingredients to the sausage mixture. Simmer gently for about 5 minutes. You do not want to reduce the liquid because it will be needed for cooking the lasagna noodles during the baking process.
/
/
 Place a small amount of the sauce in the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
/
/
 Put three uncooked lasagna noodles over the pasta sauce. The noodles should not be touching. They will expand during baking. However, the noodles will be too short for the dish. Take another noodle and break it into thirds. Place one of these portions at the end of each noodle to help bridge the gap between the end of the noodle and the end of the baking dish.
/
/
 Using 1/3 of the cottage cheese mixture, spoon it down each lasagna noodle.
/
/
 Sprinkle about 1/3 of the mozzarella/parmesan cheeses over the cottage cheese mixture.
/
/
 Randomly spoon 1/3 of the sauce over the cheese.
/
/
 Place half of the pepperoni randomly on top of the sauce.
/
Repeat these layers once again:
noodles
another 1/3 of the cottage cheese
another 1/3 of the cheese
another 1/3 of the sauce
the rest of the pepperoni
/
The final layers are assembled a little differently:
noodles
cottage cheese mix;
1/2 of the remaining cheeses
all of the remaining sauce
Bake in a 400-degree oven for 45 minutes – 1 hour. During the final 20 minutes of baking time, remove from the oven and put your preferred toppings on top of the sauce.
/
/
 I like a variety of items on top–black olives, mushrooms, onions, and green peppers.
/
/
 Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
/
/
 Bake for another 20 minutes until the vegetables are a little past crisp tender and the cheese has melted. Test the noodles with a sharp knife by inserting the knife down through the center of the lasagna. The knife should be able to pierce the noodles easily.
/
/
/
This is LOADED! One piece was plenty along with a side salad and some bread.
/
/

Comments

  1. says

    What a great pizza lasagna. I just posted a lasagna recipe myself today. 🙂 We love a good lasagna so I must give this one a try. I love that you didn’t cook your noodle either… what a time saver. 🙂

  2. says

    Hi Terri! This dish looks so tempting! I love that it combines two of our fav Italian dishes. YUM! Happy to be your newest follower – your blog is full of delicious recipes. Eye candy 🙂 Have a great day!

    • says

      Welcome! So glad to have you at the table. I love the name of your blog and dropped by for a visit. What a fun idea about the kiwi jam. I have never thought about jamming kiwi, but we love that fruit at our house and I am excited to give your jam a try.

  3. says

    My family would LOVE this!!! What’s not to love…pizza AND pasta? I often avoid lasagna noodles because I hate messing with the cooked ones, but this looks super easy. Thanks for sharing! ~ Stella B’s Kitchen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *