Makes:8 to 12 servings
Turkey Italian sausage is a slightly lighter alternative to pork that still adds plenty of flavor. Here it’s fried with onions, garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes, then simmered with tomatoes for about half an hour to make a sauce. When the sauce is ready, just layer it with no-boil lasagna noodles, ricotta whipped with a little parsley and Parmesan, and some shredded mozzarella, then bake everything until it’s browned and bubbly. If you can’t find turkey sausage or you just enjoy pork, feel free to sub in sweet Italian sausage.
What to buy: Be sure to buy whole-milk ricotta cheese, or you can make your own.
Game plan: You can prepare this recipe a day ahead through step 2 of assembling the lasagna. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and refrigerate for up to 1 day; allow to come to room temperature before baking.
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 3/4 ounce)
Olive oil, for coating the foil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
For the sauce:
Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened, about 8 minutes.
Increase the heat to medium high, add the sausage, and cook, breaking up the meat into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon, until it’s no longer pink and is starting to brown, about 6 to 8 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, stir to combine, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the flavors meld and the sauce thickens slightly, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat. Meanwhile, heat the oven and make the filling.
For the filling:
Heat the oven to 375°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
Place all of the measured ingredients in a medium bowl, season with pepper, and stir to combine; set aside.
Spread 1/2 cup of the sauce in a thin layer over the bottom of a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Layer 3 of the noodles over the sauce. Top with another 1 1/2 cups of the sauce and spread it evenly to the edges of the dish. Using a spoon, dollop a third of the ricotta mixture evenly over the sauce and flatten the dollops with the back of the spoon (the mixture will spread out more as it cooks). Sprinkle evenly with a quarter of the mozzarella.
Make 2 more layers of noodles, sauce, ricotta, and mozzarella. Finish with a layer of the remaining noodles, sauce, and mozzarella. Sprinkle with the Parmesan. Coat 1 side of a large piece of aluminum foil with olive oil and cover the dish tightly with the foil, oil-side down. (You can prepare the lasagna up to this point up to 1 day ahead and refrigerate; allow to come to room temperature before baking.)
Bake until the sauce is starting to bubble around the edges, about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the top of the lasagna is browned, about 30 minutes more. Remove the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with the parsley before slicing and serving.