We love lasagna. It's our best friend, our brotha, our boo. It's not only warm, delicious and comforting...it also yields an insane amount of leftovers. And we LOVE leftovers. So as Erin gracefully gears up for entry into motherhood (sometime in the next few weeks), we think it behooves us to make a few things that could be frozen and at the ready when the last thing she feels like doing is hovering over a stove. Now, I've never met the Erin who doesn't feel like cooking...but just in case a new version of her should rear its head, we chose this lasagna from Barefoot Contessa to help warm her heart and her stomach during what will surely be among the greatest days of her life.
We made a few changes to justify the ridonculous amount of cheese, substituting ground turkey for Italian sausage and brown rice noodles for regular...
We used De Boles and although we're sure a picky palate may not agree, we didn't notice much difference. We also added fresh grilled veggies because, well, they make us slaphappy...
Oh and if you're wondering why we are once again cooking outside, we don't have an answer. But we are seeking professional help.
Turkey and Veggie Lasagna
2 Tbsp. olive oil, plus extra for veggies
1 eggplant, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 zucchini, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 yellow squash, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 lbs. organic ground turkey
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes in tomato purée
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 lb. brown rice lasagna noodles
15 oz. ricotta cheese
3 to 4 oz. creamy goat cheese, crumbled
1 cup grated parmesan, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling
1 extra large egg, lightly beaten
1 lb. shredded mozzarella (or fresh)
Heat the grill. Brush both sides of the veggies with olive oil. Grill over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Plate and set aside. (You will most likely have extra veggies, so save to throw in a salad later.)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Heat the olive oil in a large (10 to 12-inch) skillet. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the ground turkey and cook over medium-low heat, breaking it up with a fork, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until no longer pink. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 Tbsp. of the parsley, the basil, 1 1/2 tsp. of the salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat, for 15 to 20 minutes, until thickened.
Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with the hottest tap water. Add the noodles and allow them to sit in the water for 20 minutes. Drain.
In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, goat cheese, 1 cup of Parmesan, the egg, the remaining 2 Tbsp.of parsley, remaining 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. (Instead of layering the ricotta mix with the mozz, we combined them to create one layer of cheese...not because we're creative, but cuz we don't know how to read.) Set aside.
Ladle 1/3 of the sauce into a 9 by 12 by 2-inch rectangular baking dish, spreading the sauce over the bottom of the dish. Then add the layers as follows: half the pasta, half the cheese and one 1/3 of the sauce. Next, layer in the veggies, overlapping where needed.
Add the rest of the pasta, cheese and finally, sauce. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of Parmesan.
Bake for 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling. Let stand for about 15 minutes before serving. If you're as stubborn as we are, screw that noise and cut right into that boo. It won't be as pretty, but it will still blow your mind. Serve with a light salad...
...and freeze the rest, if you can part with it.
Please share any dishes that we could prepare ahead of time for Mama Tart:)