December 1, 2010

Comfort Lasagna on a Winter Night!

Escape to a place where time together means more. The Maine House kitchen! It's warm, cozy, the fire has been lit and the comfort food is in the oven. Ready for your visit! Nothing colors a winter evening as brightly as the smiles of the children and grandbabies....

Estelle's Sausage and Ravioli Lasagna
1/2 lb. ground Italian Sausage
1 (24 oz) jar tomato and basil pasta sauce
1 (6 oz) package of baby spinach, washed completely
1/2 cup refrigerated pesto sauce
1 (25 oz) package frozen cheese-filled ravioli (frozen)
1 cup shredded Italian six-cheese blend

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cook Italian sausage in a skillet over medium heat, stirring often until sausage crumbles and is no longer pink. Drain well. Stir pasta sauce into sausage. Chop fresh spinach and toss with pesto in a bowl. Spoon 1/3 of sausage mixture into a lightly greased 11x7 baking dish, Top with half of spinach mixture. Arrange half of ravioli in a single layer across spinach mixture. Repeat layers once and top with remaining sausage and sauce mixture. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and bake 5-8 minutes longer or until hot and bubbly. We serve with fresh Italian salad and hot, crusty sourdough bread!

Fresh Italian Salad
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1/2 cup olive oil
1 head romaine lettuce, coarsely chopped
4 Belgian endives, thinly sliced crosswise
1 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
1 cup (lightly packed) fresh Italian parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup (lightly packed) fresh basil leaves, torn into bite-size pieces

Blend the lemon juice, lemon peel, honey, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a blender. With the machine running, gradually blend in the oil.
Toss the lettuce, endive, olives, parsley, and basil in a large bowl with enough dressing to coat. Season the salad with more salt and pepper, to taste, and serve.

“Happy, happy Christmas,
that can win us back to the delusions of our childhood days,
 recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth,
and transport the traveler back to his own fireside and quiet home!”
Charles Dickens

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