Lasagna is a great recipe that can be easily adjusted to meet the needs of different dietary restrictions or preferences. It's also a wonderful recipe for right now because you can make one or two and keep them in the fridge or freezer so they are easily taken out, reheated, served. Since so many of us are making almost all or completely all of our own recipes, anything that can have a lot of serving and be easily reheated is key. This lasagna is pretty close to my mama's lasagna recipe. For the last few years my mom makes this lasagna and a vegan version for Christmas dinner for the family. I love working with her in the kitchen and making these delicious layers. Now, I've made a few tweaks to make it more my style or to make some things a bit easier. It's a delicious recipe and so fun to build up those layers. Tips on Ingredients: I do say this often, but of course the better the ingredients, the better your food will always taste. However, I do like to go over which ingredients that you don't have to have the best quality for and those that I think are best to get better quality if possible. Those things I don't believe need to be the highest quality are: ground turkey, onion and garlic, tomato paste, spinach, herbs, seasoning, egg, noodles. The items I would suggest getting better quality for, due to their flavor profiles and how that will affect the bake. - Pasta Sauce: This is personally something that I go for a higher quality or taste one since it has such an impact on the flavor profile. My favorite? Rao's Homemade Arrabiata sauce. But their normal marinara, vodka, or tomato basil would be amazing. - Olive Oil: I always believe in a good quality olive oil. You can find these in any grocery store, but the taste and flavors of a real olive oil is 100 times better than a phony. - Parmesan Cheese: Cheese and dairy products are usually something I always recommend using the best of the best for. They don't need to be the most expensive, but a good quality wedge of cheese will make the flavor so much better. - Ricotta Cheese: Although I don't know if you'll always have a lot of options for this, ricotta and cheese in general is always good to have a decent quality of cheese. - Mozzarella Cheese: Now, I'm not one to speak because I used sandwich cheese on this one, but it was all I had and still delicious. But to get a great flavor and proper melt a good quality shredded mozzarella cheese or fresh ball would make the best melt. Best Tips and Knowledge to make the perfect lasagna: - Layering: Make sure you follow the steps in order so that your ingredients are ready and prepped for when you go to build the layers of the lasagna. Be sure to layer fairly thinly so that you can make plenty of layers (5-6). - Sauce: The tomato paste can be very thick, so the water from the spinach helps to thin that out. If you don't use spinach in your recipe, it is probably wise to add a little water or broth to your sauce. - Herbs: if you don't have fresh herbs readily available, you can of course use your dried spices from the cabinet. Also, feel free to mix in some other herbs where needed or wanted. Anything to add to the overall flavor is great. - Heat level: I use an arrabiata sauce, which is already kind of a spicy sauce. So when it comes to adding the crushed red pepper I don't use as much as I would for like a plain marinara sauce. But we also love spicy, so the more heat for us the better. However, you can use a non-spicy sauce and also omit the crushed red pepper as well. - Grease: yes, be sure you grease your pan throughly, this will ensure a clean pull out of the pan. - Easy cutting: You can always make this ahead of time for a few hours or a few days. I like to make it a few hours before dinner, refrigerate, then slice with a large sharp knife for the cleanest cutting, wiping between cutting slices. - Customize: Feel free to customize this recipe as you want. That's what makes it so great. I love mine with ground turkey and a lot of spice. However, my mom makes this as a vegan version for my sister and her wife as well. You can mix up your protein, sauce, and herbs very easily.
Ingredients: Sauce layer • 1 lb. ground turkey • 25 Oz jar of pasta sauce (I use arrabiata) • ¼ cup tomato paste • 6 oz spinach • 1 tablespoon olive oil • 3 sprigs fresh basil chopped (can substitute one tablespoon dried) • 1 tsp oregano • 2 tsp garlic, minced • 1 yellow onion, diced • 1 tsp salt • 1 tsp pepper • 2 tsp crushed red pepper, optional (if you use arrabiata sauce be sure to watch heat-level) Cheese layer 16 oz ricotta cheese ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated/shredded 1 tsp parsley, chopped 1 tsp basil, chopped 1 egg 1-2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (for top of lasagna only) Noodle layer 16 oz of lasagna noodles (or no-boil noodles) (I do usually have leftovers) 1 tsp olive oil (if not no-boil noodles) Instructions: 1) Preheat oven to 350; In a 13x9 casserole or similar baking dish, spray lightly with baking spray or lightly grease with olive oil. 2) Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While you wait, begin on the layers below. Sauce layer: 3) On the stove in a large sauté pan, heat olive oil and add in onions. Stir and cook down until onions are translucent. 4) Add in the garlic and cook until starts to brown. 5) Then add in your turkey and cook until cooked through thoroughly. 6) Add in spinach until sautéed. 7) Add tomato sauce, paste, herbs, and spices. Mix until all is completely cooked through, about 4-6 minutes. 8) Set aside. Noodle layer (if not non-boil): 9) Cook noodles for half the time directed on the package’s instructions. 10) Drain in colander and transfer to a bowl. Add a little olive oil and loosely lay noodles out so they don’t stick to each other while assembling lasagna 11) Set aside. Cheese layer: 12) Beat egg until fluffy and then blend in ricotta. Add Parmesan, parsley, and basil until combined. 13) Set aside. Assembling: 14) Begin layering by spreading small scoop of the sauce on bottom. Just sauce, no meat, in a thin layer. 15) Layer 1 full layer of noodles (about 3 to 4 noodles) in dish. 16) Layer the cheese mixture on top of the noodles in thin layer, using about 1/5 of mixture. 17) Then layer the meat and sauce mixture, using about 1/6 of mixture. 18) Repeat for a total of 5-6 full layers (mine is 5). 19) You’ll finish the top layer with just noodles, sauce, and top with the mozzarella. Bake: 20) Loosely cover lasagna with the dishes lid or foil and bake for 30 minutes 21) Remove foil and finish for additional 15-20 minutes, cheese will begin to brown on top, don’t let it burn. 22) Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving. You can top with freshly grated parmesan and herbs.