Spicy Sausage & Fennel Lasagna

Spicy Sausage & Fennel Lasagna
A winter dinners dream: Italian sausage & broccolini lasagna 🥦✨ Layers of pasta, Italian sausage, chilli flakes, fennel seeds, broccolini and baby spinach are smothered in a creamy ricotta sauce, topped in more cheese, baked, then grilled to get that golden brown, crispy top sheet. You can prep this in advance and pop it in the fridge to bake that night or the next day, which makes it great for entertaining.

Ingredients

  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1kg Italian pork sausage, meat removed
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 bunch broccolini, sliced in 1.5cm pieces
  • 400ml chicken stock
  • 1 bunch (10g) oregano, leaves picked
  • 200g baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 500g smooth ricotta
  • 400ml creme fraiche
  • 150 + 50g Parmesan, grated (Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano)
  • 375g pack instant lasagne sheets
  • 400g fresh mozzarella, sliced

Serves 6-8

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. In a large pan, heat half of olive oil over medium-high heat.
  3. Add sausage meat and fry until golden brown (let the first layer get really hot and brown so it doesn’t stew, then as the rest cooks, break it up with a wooden spoon or potato masher until it becomes finely ground).
  4. Transfer to a large bowl.
  5. Add remaining olive oil and sauté onion, garlic, fennel seeds and chilli flakes until tender.
  6. Add broccolini with chicken stock and simmer on high heat until broccolini is bright and tender (1 minute from simmering).
  7. Turn off the heat and add back sausage along with oregano, baby spinach and lemon juice, stir to combine, taste and season and set aside.
  8. In another bowl, combine ricotta, creme fraiche and 150g Parmesan. Season to taste.
  9. Rub oil on the base of a large oven dish (approx 25x40cm)
  10. Assemble your lasagne in the following order of layers: pasta sheets, ricotta mix, sausage mix. Repeat until all the sauce and filling has been used. I do 5 layers of pasta, meaning ¼ of the mixes were used between each layer. Make sure the pasta sheets are fully submerged in sauce or they won’t cook properly (if they aren’t, you can try to push the lasagne down to make it thinner, this way the sauce will fill the edges better).
  11. Top the final layer of pasta with sliced mozzarella followed by remaining 50g Parmesan.
  12. Cover with a layer of baking paper so the cheese doesn’t stick, then with foil and bake for 50 minutes, until pasta is cooked through and lasagne is bubbling at the sides. If the baking dish is quite full and you think it might bubble over, put a foil lined tray underneath it in the oven to catch any drippings.
  13. To finish, remove the foil and change the oven to the grill setting on high heat.
  14. Grill for 5-10 minutes, until the top is your perfect level of golden brown. Make sure you don’t walk away from the grill (or if you do, set timers on your phone or Google Home for 30 seconds-1 minute) as it can burn quickly.
  15. Remove from the oven and let it sit for at least 10 mins (20 minutes is ideal), then serve!

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