I don’t often like to give long, detailed recipes in this column. I find that when a recipe has a lengthy ingredient list and/or really long instructions, it can be a turn off from wanting to make it.
This recipe, while longer and in more steps than many others I offer, is well worth the slightly extra effort. And it is really not that difficult. You could cheat and buy tomato sauce, but it didn’t take me more than two hours start to finish to make this so why would you?
I usually make lasagna once or twice a winter. I often make a vegetarian version with roasted vegetables and pine nuts. Sometimes I do a layer of pesto sauce in the middle. Sometimes I make one with a béchamel instead of a red sauce. But hands down, this was my favorite version that I have ever made.
It has all the elements of a traditional lasagna (red sauce, meat, a white cheese and mozzarella), but with a spin. The Boursin, which replaces a traditional ricotta, was creamy and flavorful. I will admit, I sometimes find ricotta bland. The kale, unlike spinach can do, didn’t water the dish down.
This recipe made a large tray of lasagna, big enough for about 10 pieces. Make it, share it, even freeze a piece for later. But for sure, try this. Don’t let the recipe length scare you.
Substitutions could include any kind of meat sausage, but it should be a spicy variety, which is what I think made this variation different. You could use goat cheese in place of the Boursin, if you prefer. I liked it just as is.
Recipe: Spicy Sausage and Kale Lasagna
- For the sauce:
- 2 28-ounce jars of tomato sauce
- 1 12-ounce jar of fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 2 carrots, peeled and sliced thinly
- 1 onion, chopped
- ½ to 1 head of garlic, chopped (depends on how much you like garlic, I used a whole head)
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon herbs de Provence
- For the lasagna:
- 6 cups of the tomato sauce, recipe provided
- 3 pounds spicy turkey sausage, removed from the casing and browned*
- 1 bunch kale, trimmed from stem and torn into pieces
- 1 log fresh mozzarella
- 1 container Boursin cheese
- 1 large package lasagna noodles
- In a large pot, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onions first, then after they have cooked for a couple of minutes and wilted a little, add the carrots and garlic. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until softened.
- Lower the heat to medium and add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a slow boil, lowering the heat as needed, and cook for about 20 minutes. Using a hand blender if you have one (or a blender or food processor if you don’t) roughly puree the mixture until it is blended and primarily smooth.
- Prepare the lasagna noodles to the package directions. You don’t want to pre-cook them until the other ingredients are ready to assemble.
- Brown the sausage until cooked through. Stir in the kale at the last minute and blend until wilted.
- To assemble:
- In a large baking dish, cover the bottom with a thin layer of tomato sauce. Add a layer of noodles. Spread half of the turkey kale mixture on this layer, sprinkle with half of the Boursin cheese and top with enough sauce to evenly cover this layer. Add more noodles and repeat those steps. After you cover the second layer with the final layer of noodles, cover the dish completely with tomato sauce and top that with thinly sliced fresh mozzarella cheese.
- Bake in a 325 F oven for about 45 minutes to an hour until heated through and the cheese on the top is melted and slightly brown.
- * I have only found the spicy turkey sausage version at specialty markets in town and at Smiths. If you would prefer to use spicy pork sausage or any other variety, that would work.