Wrestling With Food: Deep-Dish Italian Sausage Lasagna a la J.R.

    • Wrestling With Food: Deep-Dish Italian Sausage Lasagna a la J.R.

      The WWF Cookbook is a treasure trove of crazy recipes from the Attitude Era, each of which is purportedly the creation of one of the wrestlers. In Wrestling With Food, Sydney is on a mission to try cooking all of them to see if any are actually edible.

      I know, my little muffin tins. It’s been a while and I totally promised one was coming and then I LIED. To be fair, we moved and the cookbook was in one of the many boxes now residing in my parent’s basement but luckily Tom dug it out and here we are.

      Without further ado, J.R.’s Deep-Dish Italian Sausage Lasagna.

      “I’m a very lucky man. In addition to being ten years younger than I am, and a former gymnast, my beautiful Italian wife is also a wonderful cook! And so was her grandmother, who perfected this recipe decades ago. It’s a tried and true dish that has been making people smile for years. It’s the only lasagna recipe you will ever need”

      I appreciate him throwing in the aside that his wife is both younger AND a former gymnast, just in case we wanted to be reminded that JR is a little saucy.

      The ingredients


      2 pounds sweet italian sausage, crumbled

      2 (28-ounce) jars chunky spaghetti sauce

      2 (15-ounce) containers ricotta cheese (reduced fat, if desired)

      1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

      1/2 cup grated romano cheese

      2 tablespoons chopped fresh italian flat leaf parsley

      2 table spoons chopped fresh oregano leaves (or 1 tablespoon dried)

      2 (8 ounce) packages (about 20) lasagna noodles, cooked

      4 cups shredded, reduced fat mozzarella cheese

      This will shock you, but unlike with most of my WWF Cookbook creations, I did NOT halve this recipe. You never know when the Lethal Weapon will accept the invite, so we had to make sure we had enough! I also found it… interesting that a recipe from his Italian wife (passed down from the grandmother, no less!) used jar sauce.

      The process:

      1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

      2. In a 12-inch skillet, cook the sausage over medium heat until no longer pink. Drain the fat. Stir in the spaghetti sauce.


      3. In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta, parmesan and romano cheeses, and the parsley and the oregano. (Note: I forgot to document this step, but rest assured it looked like a large bowl of seasoned cheese)

      4. Spread 1 1/2 cups of the meat sauce in an ungreased lasagna pan, and cover completely with noodles (about five)

      5. Spread 1 1/3 cups of the cheese mixture over the noodles, then add another 1 1/2 cups of the meat sauce on top. Sprinkle with 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese.

      6. Repeat the layers twice with 5 noodles, 1 1/2 cups of the cheese sauce, 1 1/2 cups of the meat sauce, and 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese.


      7. Top with the last five noodles, and then the remaining sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella, parmesan, and romano cheeses.

      8. Cover and bake for 1 1/4 hours. (Note: Avid followers of Tom on Twitter will remember his hunger and distress that dinner was going to be later than usual).

      9. Uncover and bake 15 minutes more, or until the lasagna is hot throughout and the cheese is golden brown.


      10. Let stand, loosely covered, for 15 minutes before serving. Note: Full disclosure, we may have skipped Step 10, because Tom was super hungry and when his blood sugar drops, he’s about as cranky as CM Punk at an airport. (Note from Tom: 100% confirmed.)

      ET VOILA.

      The verdict:


      This was goddamn delicious. I love lasagna but have always done it with meat, or a mixture of meat and sausage but not entirely sausage. Loved it. It was heavy as hell (and we froze half of it – it freezes well and defrosts nicely) – but it was terrific and I would 100% make this again. 5 stars from me!

      My star rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

      Comments from Tom:

      THIS! WAS! RAAAAAAD! I am often not the biggest fan of lasagna, but my main issue is that I don’t care too much for mince – swap mince out with delicious chunky sausage though? Brother, you’re in for a real slobberknocker of a time! You know, like something JR would say.

      Tom’s star rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

      Stay tuned for a dessert selection next week! Tweet me @Sydneyb79 with your comments or suggestions for any future recipes!

      – Look out for another Wrestling With Food soon, or check the Wrestling With Food archives for a full rundown of all the recipes covered so far. In the meantime, you can follow Sydney on Twitter.


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