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Author Notes: This recipe for lasagna is true staple in my home. I had avoided making lasagna for so many years because I feared it would be too time consuming, but this recipe is quite easy. I often serve it to my family for weeknight meals, and they all love it (even my 1-year old daughter). It's also a great meal for a casual dinner party because it's good for serving a crowd. I have never served this lasagna to someone who did not rave about how delicious it is. My brother-in-law did not believe it was homemade.
It is a really comforting meal and yet it is also quite nutritious! I always serve a salad along with this but with all the spinach in the filling, it's almost not even necessary.
Please note that I normally use ground turkey thigh as my choice for the bolognese, but it also tastes great with ground beef. In addition, I am going to be honest and say that when I do not have time to make fresh ricotta I just use the Mozzarella Fresca brand that you can find at many grocery stores. When I cannot get to the store that sells fresh lasagna sheets, I use Barilla No-Boil sheets (the only brand that I trust). Finally, I often use grated mozzarella for ordinary weekdays but when it's a special occasion I use the fresh mozzarella to make it more fancy.
Buon Appetito! - la mere moderne
Serves 6 generously
- 28 ounces Puréed Tomato
- 15 ounces Diced Tomato
- 1 pound Ground Turkey Thigh Meat
- 1 Medium Brown Onion (Diced)
- 1 Large Carrot (Peeled and Diced)
- 4 Cloves Garlic (Minced)
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
- 1 Large Bunch Fresh Basil (De-Stemmed and Chopped)
- 1/2 cup Red Wine
- 1 1/2 cup Fresh Ricotta (See Below)
- 1 cup Freshly Grated Parmesan
- 2 cups Spinach (Cooked, Drained, Chopped)
- 1 Large Egg
- 1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
- Fresh Lasagna Sheets
- 8 ounces Fresh Mozzarella (Large Balls)
- 8 cups Whole Milk
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 3 tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
- To make the fresh ricotta, line colander with 4 layers of cheesecloth; set in sink. Bring milk and salt to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in lemon juice and let simmer until curds form about 1-2 minutes.
- Using finely slotted spoon or skimmer, scoop curds from pan and transfer to cheesecloth-lined colander. Let drain about 1 minute. Transfer curds to medium covered bowl. Chill for about 3 hours. Can be made 2 days ahead.
- Once you are done making ricotta (if you're making it yourself), you can begin on the bolognese. Add the olive oil to a large saucepan and bring to medium-high heat. Then add diced carrot, diced onion, and minced garlic. Add 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Sauté for about 10 minutes, until soft.
- Add the diced and puréed tomatoes to the vegetable mixture. Bring to a vigorous simmer and then add cayenne followed by the ground turkey (or beef). Simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Add chopped basil and red wine. Cover the saucepan and let simmer for about 30-45 minutes.
- Before getting started on the ricotta filling, turn the oven on to preheat at 375 degrees.
- Blend the ricotta with one egg. Then add parmesan, remaining salt and pepper, and then nutmeg. Finally add the well-drained spinach to the mixture and blend well.
- To assemble the lasagna, start by adding a little bit of sauce to the bottom of your casserole dish (roughly 14 x 11 inches). This will prevent the pasta from burning and keep the bottom layer moist.
- Then add a layer of fresh or no-boil lasagna sheets to the bottom of the casserole dish. Spoon half the ricotta mixture over the pasta with a silicone spatula and smooth into an even layer. Top with one-third of the bolognese sauce. Add about one-third of mozzarella on top. Then repeat.
- After assembling your two layers of lasagna, top it off with the remaining third of sauce and remaining third of mozzarella. Cover with foil and cook in the oven 45-60 minutes or until the sauce begins to bubble. During the last ten minutes, take the foil off to let the cheese brown a little bit.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe with Fresh Ricotta