Gooey cheese, tomato sauce, tender pasta…there were no complaints when my mom served up lasagna for dinner. Granted, she used cottage cheese instead of ricotta or bechamel, but her Midwest version truly satisfied. So when I started to see scads of recipes for Lasagna Dip from my food blogger friends and more, I knew it would be a dish I’d test out on my book club.
They were served the lasagna dip with a ricotta base and a sauce using diced tomatoes, which was quite tasty…served with thin baguette toasts. But my sauce and/or the ricotta created a bit of a watery puddle in the bottom of the serving dish…which was easily remedied by pouring the excess off while holding the dip in place with a spoon. OK when making for family, but not exactly ideal when a crowd will be at the door at any minute! Next up in the test kitchen was a cream cheese version utilizing a sauce with Tuttorosso’s Crushed Tomatoes with Basil in lieu of those diced tomatoes. Much better. And this creamier version was more satisfying. The family inhaled this before dinner after attending Easter Vigil Mass. Whew; a success.
FYI: The top photo is the dip with ricotta cheese and the bottom two are of the version using cream cheese.
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- ½ pound mild Italian sausage, cooked, crumbled and drained
- 1 cup marinara sauce (store bought or homemade )
- 1 cup (8 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature (may substitute ricotta, if desired. Drain well.)
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon salt (more or less to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes with basil (I use Tuttorosso brand Crushed Tomatoes with Basil)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons red wine
- Saute onion in olive oil till softened. Add garlic and cook for just a minute or two.
- Add the salt, pepper, tomatoes, bay leaf and oregano. Bring to a simmer and add red wine. Cook for about 30 minutes, taste and add more seasoning as needed.
- Remove bay leaf before using.
- Preheat oven to 350º. Spread cream cheese in the bottom of a pie plate or small casserole dish.
- Mix sausage and marinara sauce and layer over cream cheese. Top with mozzarella. Bake or 15 minutes or till cheese is melted, starting to bubble and lightly browned. Serve warm with baguette toasts.
Disclosure: Tuttorosso supplied me with a sampling of canned tomato products. I was not compensated for writing this post and the opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Tuttorosso.