Raiding the larder of ideas.

What one family eats, plans to eat, dreams of eating. Plus, other food and kitchen-related stuff from the home of steak-and-potatoes, pie and fresh green beans from the garden.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Variation on a theme: Lasagna

This evening, I discovered that a mistake can turn out for the better. I was assembling the layers of my lasagna using my favorite Aldi vodka pasta sauce and the last of the Thanksgiving turkey, and forgot to grate the mozzarella* to add in with the ricotta cheese [gasp!].  I had a little set aside from my last pizza project, but I really didn't want to spend all that extra energy either grating by hand or cleaning the cylinder to the Kitchen Aid, so I decided to bump up the ricotta slightly, add an extra egg to my usual formula, and, surprisingly, the company liked it better than my usual.

Sure, it's fun to have a gooey slice of something, but this time, it was almost cheesecakey, and slightly richer and more savory than I anticipated.  

Pop and our male guest each had seconds (if Pop goes for seconds, I know I've done okay, because he's very conservative in his eating habits… unlike his eldest daughter). I made enough so I can pop a few servings into the freezer, though, so I'll have something to enjoy when the old folks are gone on their next trip out of town.

Meanwhile, here's what I done did today:

Something like lasagna, post-Thanksgiving edition


2 jars Aldi vodka marinara sauce (or your favorite other variety, if you must. I'd recommend something with mushrooms or spinach, if need be)
2 to 3 cups roasted turkey, chopped into roughly 1/2-inch chunks
1 medium sweet onion, finely chopped
1 package no-boil lasagna noodles
1 1/2 containers (15 ounces each) ricotta cheese
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil (or more, if fresh)
1/2 teaspoon minced roasted garlic
2 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese


A day before, in a medium saucepan, saute chopped onion until caramelized. Add in marinara sauce and turkey. Simmer over very low heat overnight for fullest flavor and tenderest turkey shreds. (This step may be shortened to just the morning, if your turkey is already in tender shreds resembling pulled meat barbecue).

Preheat oven to 375ยบ F.  Prepare 9x14" lasagna pan with non-stick spray (or, if you don't have any on hand, just grease the heck out of it).

In a medium bowl, thoroughly mix ricotta, eggs, oregano, basil, garlic. Divide into thirds.

Ladle enough marinara sauce into bottom of lasagna pan to just coat it.  Set in a layer of lasagna noodles according to package instructions.  Coat with first third of ricotta mixture. Cover with layer of sauce. Go for another layer of noodles, ricotta, then sauce. Repeat once more. Cover that with remaining sauce, then sprinkle parmesan cheese and top with Mozzarella (you may choose to hold back a half-cup or so, just for finishing touches).

Cover entire dish with a tent of aluminum foil. 

Bake 50-60 minutes.  Remove foil (if foil has stuck to cheese, don't worry, just toss the reserved mozzarella on it & go with the flow), continue to bake another 10 minutes, or until cheese edges begin to turn golden-brown.  Remove from oven.

Allow to stand 5-10 minutes before serving.

*I try to avoid using pre-packaged grated cheeses, these days, because I'm not particularly fond of the finish left by the starch or whatever coating they use to keep the shreds from sticking together.  If you use the prepared stuff, by no means should you feel obliged to go crazy & buy more than a single 2-cup pouch.  Unless you really want to.