It’s moving day for friends of mine and since they have four children aged 8 and under, I thought it would be nice to bring them dinner at the end of this stressful day. For a family of six plus a grandmother and an au pair, I knew that it would impossible to cook too much, so I decided to make a giant lasagna (and salad and bread). Raquel is health conscious and her children happily eat vegetables, so I decided to pull all of the health levers I could with this recipe: whole wheat pasta, lots of spinach, low-fat cheeses and of course, 99% fat free ground turkey. I made an extra one for my family and I can tell you, it tastes great. Even my picky 4-year old said, “Mommy. I like it.”
2 lbs ground turkey (Jennie O’s 99% fat free, no skin)
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning (oregano, basil, thyme, marjaram, sage etc.)
1 1/2 tsp crushed rosemary
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp (or more) fresh ground garlic pepper
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion finely chopped
4 carrots, finely chopped (I shredded them in a Cuisinart mini prep)
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 15 oz can of Chicken Stock (99% fat free)
1/2 cup red wine
1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 6 oz can of tomato paste
1 Tbsp sugar (optional)
1 32 oz container of part skim ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped finely
1 10 oz bag of fresh, pre-washed baby spinach
1 box whole wheat lasagna noodles
1.5 cups shredded part-skim Mozarella cheese
additional Parmesan cheese to taste
1. Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a large, heavy-bottom stock pot over medium-high heat. Add turkey for browning. Add Italian seasoning and rosemary, as well as salt and garlic pepper. Break up the turkey continuously until all of it is cooked through. Remove turkey to a bowl.
2. Add olive oil to pan and sautée onions and carrots until softened, about 5 minutes. Add turkey back in and mix thoroughly. Add chicken stock and red wine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes and mix thoroughly. Add tomato paste and mix thoroughly. Bring to a boil. Taste the sauce. Does it need sugar? If so, add a Tbsp or so. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce is thickened – at least one hour.
Assembling the Lasagna
Preheat oven to 350˚F
1. To make the ricotta cheese mixture: Mix the ricotta and Parmesan cheese, Beat in 1 egg and fold in Italian Parsley.
2. Spoon enough sauce to cover bottom of a 15″ x 10″ baking pan. Layer uncooked noodles to cover. Spread a layer of ricotta cheese on top of noodles. Add a layer of fresh spinach. Be generous with the spinach because it shrinks a lot when it cooks. Layer #2: Sauce, then noodles, then ricotta mixture, then spinach. Layer #3: Repeat. Add sauce to cover the top. Then sprinkle Mozarella cheese to cover. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese as well.
3. Spray aluminum foil with non-stick cooking spray so that cheese won’t stick to it. Cover lasagna tightly and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until cheese is just starting to brown. Remove and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.