Monday, August 17, 2009

Recipe of the day: Lasagna

For sauce:
2 large onions, chopped (about 2 cups)
4 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
2 carrots, chopped fine
1 large red bell pepper, chopped fine
a 28- to 32-ounce can whole tomatoes with thick purée
1 1/2 cups dry red wine
1 teaspoon basil, crumbled
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

15 ounces part-skim ricotta (about 2 cups)
1 large egg, beaten lightly
2 scallions, chopped
twelve 7- by 3 1/2-inch sheets dry no-boil lasagna pasta
12 ounces part-skim mozzarella, grated (about 3 cups)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan (about 1 ounce)

Make sauce:
In a heavy kettle cook onions and three fourths of garlic in oil over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened. Add turkey, carrots, and bell pepper and cook, stirring to break up turkey, until carrots are barely tender. Stir in tomatoes, wine, herbs, spices, and salt and pepper to taste, breaking up tomatoes, and simmer, uncovered, 25 minutes. Stir in remaining garlic and simmer 5 minutes. Sauce may be made 3 days ahead, cooled completely, and chilled, covered.

*Joe is not a huge fan of ground turkey, but he loves this recipe. Ground turkey (especially turkey breast) is super lean and makes this one of the better-for-you lasagna recipes. The sauce "as is" is just fine, but is very light. I like it to be a little more saucy so I add a small can of tomato paste and that is much more my style. I love using the no boil pasta. It is much faster, but it doesn't taste as "noodle-y" because the no boil noodles are thinner than the boil ones.*

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a bowl stir together ricotta, egg, scallions, and salt and pepper to taste.

Pour 1 cup sauce into a baking dish, 13 by 9 by 2 inches (sauce will not cover bottom completely), and cover with 3 lasagna sheets, making sure they do not touch each other. Spread about 2 cups sauce over pasta. Drop one third of ricotta mixture by spoonfuls onto sauce and gently spread with back of a spoon. Sprinkle one fourth of mozzarella over ricotta mixture and make 2 more layers in same manner, beginning and ending with pasta. Spread remaining sauce evenly over top, making sure pasta is completely covered, and sprinkle with Parmesan and remaining mozzarella.

Cover dish tightly with foil, tenting slightly to prevent foil from touching top layer, and bake in middle of oven 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake lasagna 10 minutes more, or until top is bubbling and golden. Let lasagna stand 5 minutes before serving.

*I make this a few times a month and it is great as leftovers. I used fresh basil, thyme, oregano and chives from our garden. Without the cost of fresh herbs this should cost you about $20-25 to make. I never use cooking wine and I don't think using a $20 bottle is worth it either. I just buy the cheapest drinking wine I can find since the flavors are usually much better than cooking wine. The wine I used for this was $2.50 for the bottle. No joke! Alberstons always has great wine specials and I usually get a few bottles and stock up for future recipes.*

Nutritional information:
8 servings
Calories: 556.8
Total Fat: 24.0 g
Cholesterol: 141.7 mg
Sodium: 589.4 mg
Total Carbs: 32.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.0 g
Protein: 41.6 g

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