Skinny Lasagna

I wasn't suprised to learn that my favorite go-to lasagna recipe was not Weight Watchers approved. Oozing with melted Mozzarella, whole fat ricotta and bursting with pork sausage, the 30 points per serving calculation seemed about right, if not less than I expected. My mission was clear: make over the lasagna to satisfy my craving and not manage to blow my entire day. This won't be a regular thing, but being that it was my first made-over recipe, I've provided the nutritional data at the bottom of the recipe as well as the total Weight Watchers points (Points Plus) per generous serving.

For the sauce, you will need:

2 cans crushed tomatoes
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb chicken sausage, casings removed (I like Trader Joe's Formaggio & Vino)
Bunch basil, chopped
Small bunch parsley, chopped
1 cup dry red wine
1 tablespoon white sugar (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Red pepper flakes to taste

For the lasagna:

18 half-sheets lasagna or 6 full sheets
2 cups light Ricotta cheese
4 tablespoons Mascarpone cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 cloves garlic, grated or minced very finely
Small bunch basil, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
¾ bag of baby spinach (whole)
1 ½ cups reduced fat Italian shredded cheese blend, or equal parts reduced fat Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, shredded

To make the sauce, heat olive oil in a dutch oven or heavy pot over medium heat. When hot, add onions and carrots and cook until onions are translucent, stirring frequently. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add sausage and cook for 4-5 minutes. Pour in wine and reduce slightly, about 5 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes and simmer gently for 15 minutes before adding the basil and parsley. Season to taste, cover and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours.

In a medium bowl, combine Ricotta, Mascarpone, egg, garlic, basil, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. Set aside.

To assemble lasagna, spoon enough sauce to line the bottom of a ceramic or glass baking dish. On top of the sauce, fill with one layer of pasta sheets (you may need to break some pasta sheets to completely line the bottom of the pan). Make sure that all the pasta is touching sauce – since the pasta is not pre-cooked, it will need to soak up the sauce to soften. Spoon a thin layer of sauce over the pasta sheets. Add a layer of spinach. Add tablespoon-size drops of Ricotta cheese blend over the spinach, about 9, and spread to cover spinach. Sprinkle ¼ cup of the shredded cheese mixture over the top and repeat with a new layer – adding in order sauce, pasta, sauce, spinach, Ricotta blend and cheese. Complete three layers and top the lasagna with remaining sauce and shredded cheese.

Cover with foil and bake immediately in a 375 degree oven for 40 minutes, until the sauce bubbles. Remove foil for the last 10 minutes to brown the cheese. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving. Lasagna can also be made ahead of time and stored either in the refrigerator or in the freezer until ready to bake. If baking from frozen, add another 10 minutes to the cooking time. Serves 10.

Nutritional data

Per serving: 403 calories, 42 carbs, 14 grams fat, 24 grams protein

Weight Watchers points plus: 12.6

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