Love lasagna, but hate ricotta cheese? Or maybe you hate lasagna because you hate ricotta cheese. It’s flavorless and kind of gross looking, right? If that’s how you feel, then hoo boy, do I have news for you.
Real Sicilian lasagna doesn’t use ricotta cheese.
Mind blown, right?
Well, OK, maybe that’a stretch. But it’s pretty exciting for us! Ricotta cheese is something my husband has been fighting against for YEARS. I never minded it, but it did always seem a little expensive for something that doesn’t bring much to the table.
When Zach was in grad school, the university hired a new professor from Sicily. At a party later that year, she brought a homemade lasagna. They got into a conversation about American versions of Italian foods, and Zach mentioned how much he hates ricotta. Then she did something that excited him: she scrunched her face up in disgust and told him real Italian food doesn’t use ricotta. And Italians balk at the idea of adding it, apparently. It makes them want to cry.
As if that wasn’t exciting enough, she also added peas to it. I’m all for sneaking vegetables into the food I”m going to be eating anyway. (I can’t possibly be alone in this.)
When he came home with this revelation, I knew I had to try it. I had no recipe, but I did have my Mom’s. So I got the regular ingredients for that and made the necessary changes.
And now there is no turning back. This lasagna is SO good. So I’m sharing the recipe with you.
Sicilian Lasagna with Peas & Sausage
- 1 lb ground meat (chicken, turkey, or beef)
- 1 lb ground mild Italian sausage
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp dried basil leaves
- 1 can pasta sauce
- 2 bags shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 cups grated Parmesan
- 1 bag frozen peas
- lasagna noodles
Step 01: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Mix the ground chicken with the seasonings and brown on medium-high heat. Drain and dump into a mixing bowl. Don’t add anything to the sausage, but brown it, drain it, and put it in the bowl with the chicken. Add the peas, 1 bag of mozzarella cheese, and 1 cup of Parmesan. Mix and add the sauce. Mix again.
Step 02: Layer the lasagna. Dry noodles, meat mixture, dry noodles. Continue until the meat mixture is gone.
Step 03: Bake for 30 minutes. Top with mozzarella and Parmesan and bake for another 15 minutes.
This is the best lasagna I have ever had. I’m sure my recipe strays from a real Sicilian lasagna a little, but the sausage and spices added so much flavor. I regret nothing. 😛
You can still add ricotta to yours, but I finally made a lasagna Zach could get excited about. This is one of our new favorites!
Do you add anything unusual to your lasagna? Let me know in the comments!