Turkey, Red Pepper and Mozzarella Lasagne

I have been cooking up a storm lately, trying around 2 new recipes a week! Unfortunately, with all of this cooking, working and basic living, I have had much time to post anything so I am a bit behind. This week will hopefully be a catch-up week… a couple of friends have been asking for these recipes so I wanna get them out there!

I first had this lasagna at my old boss and friends Andy and Jan’s house for a art direction workshop. Andy, while being a super talented designer, is also quite skilled in the kitchen and whipped up this delicious lasagna for lunch that day. I asked for the recipe immediately and it’s been my go-to lasagna recipe ever since. This is not your classic lasagna — the recipe calls for turkey instead of beef, is full of carrots and red peppers and has a bit of a red wine taste which I love in Italian food.

The best way to make this recipe is to cook it the night or morning before you plan on serving it so that the sauces develop more of a rich flavor and then just pop it in the oven about 45 minutes before dinner.

And just one other note: this recipe makes a hearty portion! Wayyy too much for two people. I should have split this recipe in half or just made two smaller lasagnes and put one in the freezer for later… instead we just kept eating lasagna every meal for a week until it was gone.

For the sauce–
• 2 medium yellow onions, chopped finely
• 4 large garlic cloves, minced
• 2 T olive oil
• 1.5 lbs ground turkey
• 2 carrots, chopped finely (I did about 1 cup chopped baby carrots)
• 1 large red bell pepper, chopped finely
• 1 28-32 oz can whole tomatoes with think puree (**I couldn’t find this! Instead I used 2 15-oz cans of tomato sauce)
• 3/4 C dry red wine
• 1 tsp basil, crumbled (or chopped if fresh)
• 3/4 tsp dried tyme
• 1/4 tsp dried hot red pepper flakes
• 1/8 tsp ground allspice

For the rest:
15 oz part-skim ricotta cheese
1 large egg, beaten
2 scallions, chopped
1 pkg dry no-boil lasagne pasta (12 7×3.5 inch sheets)
3 C part skim mozzarella, grated
1/4 C freshly grated Parmesan

Make the sauce:
In a large pan, cook the onions, 3/4 of the garlic (reserve the rest for later) in olive oil over medium-low heart, stirring until the onions are softened. Add turkey, carrots and bell pepper, stirring to break up the turkey until the carrots are barely tender. Remove any excess turkey fat. Stir in the tomatoes, wine, herbs and spices, adding salt and pepper to taste, stir and then let it simmer uncovered for 25-30 minutes.

* sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead. Just cool, cover and keep in the fridge. It tastes best made at least 4 hours before you cook the lasagna

Make the lasagna:
Preheat oven to 375

In a bowl combine ricotta, egg, scallions and a dash of salt and pepper.

Get a baking dish — either 13x9x2 for one large lasagna or two 8×8 for two separate smaller lasagnas. In your baking dish, spread 1 cup of the sauce in the bottom. It won’t cover the bottom completely but it will keep the noodles from sticking and drying out. Cover with lasagna sheets, making sure they don’t touch each other. Spread about 2 cups of the sauce over the pasta, drop about 1/3 of the ricotta mixture by the spoonful and gently spread with the back of your spoon (it won’t cover everywhere). Sprinkle a couple of handfuls of shredded mozzarella over the ricotta mixture and make 2 more layers in the same manner, beginning and ending with pasta. Spread the rest of your sauce on top and sprinkle with another handful or two of mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

Cover your dish (or dishes) with foil, making sure the foil doesn’t touch the top layer, and bake in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 10 minutes, until top is bubbling and golden. Let it stand 5 minutes before serving.

One large lasagna serves 8 people.


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