White Lasagna With Sausage And Ricotta Recipe

To us, lasagna just screams comfort. It's warm, cheesy, and full of flavor. As simple as the dish can be, lasagna is a welcomed change to your average weeknight pasta. While more traditionally made with two different sauces — bolognese and béchamel – this lasagna recipe does not include the classic tomato base. Instead, ricotta cheese is added to the béchamel for extra creaminess, proving that only one sauce is needed for a super comforting dish. In addition, recipe developer Ali Fagan of Everyone Romaine Calm decided to include Italian sausage instead of the more traditional ground beef because it complements the added richness from the ricotta.

Fagan took a few untraditional turns by adding caramelized onions made with red pepper flakes and spinach into her lasagna. She notes that "a touch of sweetness from the onions, heat from the pepper flakes, and green from the spinach round out this lasagna for a fun spin on a classic dish." Her use of additional herbs and spices also add an extra depth of flavor. While the lasagna is delicious on its own, Fagan loves to eat it alongside Caesar salad and say's "it's always a favorite at dinner parties!"

Gather your ricotta sausage lasagna ingredients

For the fillings of the lasagna, you will need uncooked Italian sausage and baby spinach. In addition, to make the caramelized onions, you will need a yellow onion, fresh thyme and sage, crushed red pepper flakes, white wine, and balsamic glaze.

To make the ricotta béchamel, you need unsalted butter, flour, and whole milk for the base, then you will add whole milk ricotta, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and garlic powder. Once it is time to assemble, finely grated Parmesan, shredded mozzarella, and, of course, lasagna noodles are needed. Please take note of the instructions for your lasagna noodles; some may need to be par-boiled before being layered into the lasagna.

Cook the sausage, onions, and spinach

To begin, preheat the oven to 350 F. To avoid any unnecessary cleanup, use only one non-stick pan to prepare the sausage, caramelized onions, and spinach. Starting with the sausage, remove the meat from its casing and place it directly into the pan. Using a wooden spoon, break it up and toss it around as it cooks down. Once fully cooked, remove it from the pan, leaving behind some fat. Fagan notes that small pieces are ideal, so feel free to use a knife to chop it smaller once it has cooled.

To add some additional flavor, Fagan includes caramelized onions cooked down with fresh herbs, red pepper flakes, white wine, and balsamic glaze. To make them, melt some butter alongside the sausage fat left behind in the skillet. Remember: Fat equals flavor! Once melted, toss the thinly sliced onions with the herbs and pepper flakes, lower the heat, and let the magic happen. As the onions take a bit to cook down, feel free to start on your ricotta béchamel at this time (more on that in a moment). Once the onions are cooked down and beginning to turn golden brown, add the wine and bring it to a boil. Once the wine has fully evaporated and the alcohol has dissipated, stir in the balsamic glaze. Remove the onions from the pan and reserve them to the side.

Lastly, place the spinach into the pan, and note that there should still be some liquid left behind from the onions –- this will add a ton of flavor to the greens. Toss it around until it begins to brighten and wilt slightly. It will not take long, so keep an eye on it!

Make the ricotta béchamel

This lasagna does not have a tomato sauce, so the béchamel is going to be the star. Start the béchamel by making a blonde roux from melted butter and flour. "It's important to pay attention to the smell here," Fagan notes. "We are looking for the raw flour smell to be gone and instead replaced with a delicious, nutty note." Once achieved, slowly whisk in the milk until fully incorporated and silky. It's at this point where the béchamel is removed from the heat and the ricotta, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and garlic powder are folded in.

Assemble, bake, and serve the lasagna

This is going to be a three-layer lasagna, and by that we mean three layers of pasta with two layers of filling. Use your best judgment when dividing the ingredients; lasagna doesn't have to be perfect. Start by spreading around a quarter of the ricotta béchamel over the bottom of a glass baking dish. Top this with a layer of lasagna sheets. It's fine if the sheets don't fit perfectly together, as lasagna sheets tend to come in slightly different sizes. Top this with one half of the sausage, caramelized onions, and spinach, followed by one third of both cheeses, then, finally, another quarter of the béchamel. You may not be able to spread the béchamel, which is okay! Just ty to evenly distribute it around the lasagna.

Cover this layer with lasagna noodles and repeat. Topping the final layer with lasagna sheets, spread the remaining ricotta béchamel over the noodles and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake uncovered for an additional 15 minutes. This allows the cheese to fully melt, slightly bubble, and brown. Before serving, be sure to allow the lasagna to rest for at least 10 minutes.

Depending on the size of your appetite, the recipe should serve six to eight guests. Fagan loves to save some for leftovers, noting, "simply heat up a slice in the microwave for about 1 minute and you have the ultimate comfort work-from-home lunch."

White Lasagna With Sausage And Ricotta Recipe
4.7 from 62 ratings
Ricotta béchamel, Italian sausage, and spinach come together to make this rich and savory lasagne recipe.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Sausage ricotta lasagna
Total time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • For the lasagna filling
  • 1 pound Italian pork sausage
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • ½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage
  • ⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic glaze
  • 2 large handfuls baby spinach
  • For the ricotta béchamel
  • ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 (16-ounce) container whole milk ricotta
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • For assembly
  • ⅓ cup finely grated Parmesan
  • 2 ½ cups grated low-moisture mozzarella
  • 12 (or more, if needed) store-bought oven-ready lasagna noodles
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the sausage from its casing and cook, breaking meat apart with a wooden spoon, for 8 to 10 minutes, until browned. Remove and reserve to the side.
  3. In the same skillet, add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter. Once melted, add the sliced onions and stir to coat. Mix in the thyme, sage, and red pepper flakes. Reduce the heat to low and let it rest, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and translucent, about 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, heat a small saucepan over medium heat for the ricotta béchamel.
  5. To create a blonde roux, melt ¼ cup butter in the saucepan until bubbling. Lower the heat and whisk in the flour, stirring for 4 minutes or until the raw flour smell dissipates and you're left with a nutty scent.
  6. Slowly add in the milk, continuously whisking until the béchamel has a smooth consistency. Raise the heat to medium-high. Right after it reaches a boil, remove it from the heat. Fold in the ricotta, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and garlic powder. Set aside.
  7. Once the onions have softened and begun to brown, deglaze the pan with white wine, raise the heat to medium-high, and stir, scraping up anything stuck to the pan. Boil until the liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Stir in the balsamic glaze. Remove the onions from the pan and set to the side.
  8. Over medium heat, add the spinach to the same skillet and let it wilt down, about 2 minutes. Remove from the skillet and reserve.
  9. Lightly grease a 9x13-inch glass baking dish. Spread a fourth of the ricotta béchamel onto the bottom of the dish. Top with 2 to 4 lasagna noodles, depending on their size. Cover with half of the cooked sausage, caramelized onions, and spinach. Sprinkle a third of both the grated Parmesan and mozzarella, then another fourth of the béchamel. Cover with another layer of lasagna sheets and repeat.
  10. Top with the final layer of lasagna sheets, the last fourth of the béchamel, and last third of the mozzarella and Parmesan.
  11. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake, uncovered, for an additional 15 minutes.
  12. Rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.
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