I have a confession to make…. I love lasagna. Rarely will I order it in a restaurant because I know that I love the taste of this recipe and can’t imagine ordering something *out* that I can make myself. I’m sure that there are tons of variations on this recipe… with or without meat, red sauce vs white sauce, cooked noodles vs the no-bake noodles… but this is my favorite “go to” recipe to use if I’m being honest. It originally came from a Weight Watchers cookbook but, as with most anything I make, it’s been altered and adjusted to fit our unique tastes. Here’s how I make it:
- 1 package ground turkey
- 1 large onion, diced
- Dry red wine, about 1/2-3/4 cup
- Spinach leaves (I used about 1 1/2 cups and sliced them fairly thin)
- 1 large can pasta sauce (use your favorite… I like a basic meat sauce)
- 1 16-oz container of low-fat ricotta cheese
- 2 cups part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 2 egg whites, lightly beaten
- Italian seasoning (1 teaspoon or so… I simply shake it on until it “looks right”)
- freshly grated nutmeg (don’t go crazy on this… you just want a hint)
- 1 package lasagna noodles (you won’t use the entire package… I typically use about 9 or 10)
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Spray large skillet with cooking spray and heat on medium high setting. Brown ground turkey, using a potato masher to break up the meat into small pieces. NOTE:This is the BEST way to brown meat, in my humble opinion. Add onion and red wine to the meat and cook until the wine is thoroughly incorporated. Add spinach (or any other vegetables you care to add), cook until spinach wilts, then add pasta sauce and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Boil noodles, as directed on package, or immerse them in boiling water until softened. Drain and set aside.
- Combine the ricotta, mozzarella, egg whites, Italian seasoning, and nutmeg in a medium bowl and set aside.
- Begin to layer your lasagna together. NOTE: I used a 9×9 pan and a 9×3 pan – normally, I’d simply use a single 9×13 pan. This is where your noodle amounts may vary. I used 11-12 noodles to cover these two pans, but the rest of the ingredients remained the same. I also vary the direction of the noodle placement with each subsequent layer so the finished lasagna holds together well.
- Start by spooning a bit of the sauce to lightly cover the bottom of your pan(s). Place noodles over the bottom in a single layer. Top with 1/3 sauce mixture, then dollop half of the cheese mixture over the sauce. Repeat noodle, sauce, and cheese layers. Top with noodles and final third of the sauce, then sprinkle with Parmesan. NOTE: If making ahead or freezing lasagna, this is the place to stop. Cover with foil and pop in fridge or freezer, then allow dish to thaw overnight before continuing.
- Cover and bake lasagna for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake until lasagna is bubbling and cheese is lightly browned. Remove from oven and allow the lasagna to set for 5 minutes before serving.
As I mentioned, this is my favorite lasagna recipe. Not only is it easy to make, it has delicious flavor and is a simple way of getting vegetables into your meal without much effort. I like to add a side of garlic toasts to accompany this dish.
NOTE: To make garlic toasts, I start with a roll from the freezer (Ciabatta rolls work well for this, as do sub rolls). Slice the frozen roll into bite sized slices and lay them on a foil-lined baking sheet. Spray the slices with cooking spray and sprinkle with garlic salt. When you remove the lasagna from the oven, turn oven off and pop the baking sheet into the hot oven. The toasts will crisp as the oven cools and be ready to eat by the time you finish plating the lasagna. I put the garlic toasts into a wooden serving bowl and pitch the foil… no messy cleanup!
I hope you’ll try this lasagna recipe sometime… it makes an amazing dinner and is always appreciated by my neighbors if I am able to share. Enjoy!