Welcome to the weekend friends! That was an exhausting week. No matter what state you live in, or what views or opinions you have, this has been an intense couple of days for the ol' US of A. So we're going to take a minute and just talk about comfort food. Cutting straight to the chase: Penne Spinach Lasagna Bake with Homemade Sauce.
So how is this a Penne Spinach Lasagna Bake and not just a straight Lasagna? It has to do with the lack of actual lasagna noodles. I'm a fan of delicious, easy, convenience. Especially right now. I've got myself another low grade sinus infection resulting in some really awesome ear pain, and I'm just not going to deal with lasagna noodles. Am I right or am I right?
Pretty sure I'm right. I'm also 99% sure you understand my pain if you've ever had to fuss with lasagna noodles. I actually make this recipe (sans pork sausage) at the center and I felt that the restaurant style lasagna sheets was not enough of a grain serving per child. Quite frankly, I feel that way about lasagna in general. As you may have noticed, I'm a massive carb lover so the more pasta the better. Ergo Penne Spinach Lasagna Bake. Layers of sauced up penne pasta, topped with spinach, ricotta, and shredded mozzarella. Comforting? Yes please.
Let's talk about that meat sauce. Extremely similar to my Spaghetti Beef Sauce, this one has some ground italian pork sausage added because yummmm. It adds a bit more depth to the cheesy carby-ness of this dish. It's all made in one pot, super easy, and freezes up wonderfully! So if you have leftovers, or want to make a double batch and just save it for later, this sauce can hang out in your freezer until you're ready for some serious comfort food. Just defrost and go!
So take a breather this weekend and cook up some Penne Spinach Lasagna Bake with Homemade Sauce!Print
For the Sauce
- ¾ lb ground beef
- 1 lb ground mild italian pork sausage
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons red wine
- 15 ounces can diced tomatoes
- 15 ounces can tomato sauce (alternatively, get another can of diced tomatoes and blend before using)
- ¼ cup chicken stock
- 1½ tablespoons dried basil
- 1½ tablespoons dried oregano
- Coarse salt and ground black pepper to taste
For the Lasagna
- 1 lb penne pasta, cooked according to box instructions until just al dente
- 15 ounce tub ricotta cheese
- 1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach, uncooked
- Basil, thinly sliced and parsley, roughly chopped, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400˚F. Grease a 9X13 inch baking dish.
- Make the Sauce: In a high walled skillet or large pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat. Add ground beef and ground sausage. Cook until browned, stirring frequently.
- Add onion and garlic. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until onion is somewhat softened and garlic is fragrant.
- Add the tomato paste and stir to combine. Cook until it turns dark reddish brown, about 2 minutes.
- Deglaze the pot by pouring in the red wine and scraping up any browned bits on the bottom.
- Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken stock, basil and oregano. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 10-15 minutes, letting the sauce thicken slightly, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste, remove from heat.
- Make the Lasagna: Combine the cooked penne and sauce, stirring to combine.
- Add ⅓ of the penne mixture in an even layer on the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Spoon 1 cup of the ricotta cheese in large dollops on top of the pasta and spread with a spatula. Top with 1 cup of the spinach.
- Repeat the penne, ricotta and spinach layer on top of the first layer, using the rest of the spinach and ricotta cheese.
- Top the second layer with the rest of the penne mixture and cover with the mozzarella cheese.
- Bake for 20 minutes, until bubbling. Let rest 5 minutes before cutting. Garnish with parsley and basil.