Lalala – Lasagne

Turkey and Sausage Lasagne
Lasagne, though a dish that I adore, is not a constant in my repertoire. Now that I think about it, I prefer it that way. I am delightfully surprised each time I take the first bite at how it draws me in and comforts me – like a warm, cozy blanket. There are no complex flavour combinations, no costly ingredients, just a simple tomato and meat sauce enhanced with the subtle flavours of the medditeranean. Paired with a slice of home-made garlic bread and a fresh green salad – this dish is a true crowd pleaser. I often forget this fact however, when hosting dinner parties. For some reason I tend to shy away from one dish wonders – a habit I will no doubt have to break.
This particular lasagne I adapted from the Gourmet Cookbook. It’s uncomplicated and therefore imperative that the ingredients you use are the best you can get your hands on. Their version, made with beef, veal and sweet Italian sausage is meaty, yet remains light and exceptionally juicy. While they advise not to cut calories by substituting leaner meat, that is exactly what I did in this case. My motive was not to cut calories however, it was simply that I had ground turkey on hand and decided to put it to the test. I’ll be the first to admit that turkey does not provide the same deeply savoury flavour as beef but on the flip side, it allows for an even lighter dish where the tomato sauce has a chance to sing center stage. The layers of ricotta are airy and fluffy, somehow lifting each noodle to new heights. I often like to spread fresh spinach in between a few layers to add a hint of green and a dose of iron to boot. The final layer is liberally spread with shredded milky mozzarella and parmesan and then baked to a bubbly, crisp golden brown. I don’t know about you but I make sure to serve myself a corner slice – crisp and caramelised and oh so satisfying.
Turkey and Sausage Lasagne – adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook
For the sauce:
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 lb ground turkey, dark meat
  • 2 (28oz) cans fire roasted tomatoes, diced
  • 2 tsp freshly chopped rosemary
  • 2 tsp freshly chopped thyme
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar

For the filling:

  • 2 lbs ricotta
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup finely grated parmesan
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

For assembling:

  • 16 oven-ready (no boil) lasagne noodles
  • 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan
  • 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, coarsely grated

Make the sauce: Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring until golden. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the sausage and turkey and cook, stirring and breaking up the larger pieces, until no longer pink. Add the tomato paste and mix thoroughly, then add the herbs, tomatoes and salt, pepper and sugar. Bring to a simmer and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened, about 30 mimnutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Remove the bay leaf.

Make the filling: Stir together the ricotta, eggs, parmesan, parsley, salt, pepper and nutmeg in a bowl until combined. Preheat the oven to 375F.

To assemble: Spread an even layer of sauce in the bottom of greased 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Arrange 4 lasagne noodles, slightly overlapping, over sauce. Spread an even layer of the ricotta mixture over the noodles and sprinkle about 2 tbs of parmesan evenly on top. This is where I like to add fresh spinach leaves on occasion. Spread another layer of the sauce over the ricotta and then another 4 noodles. Spread another layer of ricotta, spinkled with parmesan. Repeat the process until all ingredients have been used, finishing with a layer of sauce. Spread the mozzarella evenly over the top and sprinkle with more parmesan. Cover the lasagne with buttered foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until top is bubbling and lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let stand to set up for 15 minutes before serving.

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One thought on “Lalala – Lasagne

  1. I love your use of turkey! It’s always a nice bonus when a leaner version turns out to be just as tasty, isn’t it? 🙂

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