Italian food, to me, is the ultimate comfort food. Pasta + Cheese + Garlic-y Tomato Sauce = Happiness. So every few weeks, I’ll whip up one of these cheese-y garlic-y lasagnas, and well, let’s just say it doesn’t last too long in this house.
For days, we’ll have lasagna for lunch and dinner, and honestly, I never get sick of it. We haven’t go so far as to eat it for breakfast… but I wouldn’t put it past us. Poached egg on top of a hefty serving of lasagna? Mmmhmmm I’m ok with it!
Thankfully, I don’t have to feel TOO guilty about this delicious dish, because it’s packed with lean turkey meat, fresh eggplant, and gloriously green spinach. Pretty much guilt-free, if you ask me!
This dish, while it does take some time to make, will save you oodles of time the rest of the week, as you pretty much won’t need to cook for the rest of the week. Unless you have a hungry manfriend around, then maybe you won’t have to cook for a few days. :) Either way, I’d consider that a worthwhile investment!
To make this dish, you’ll need a large saucepan and an ovenproof casserole dish. Yup, that’s it!
Start by browning your turkey meat, onion and cloves of minced garlic.
While the turkey is browning, dice up your beautiful purple eggplant into cubes, and toss into the pan with your turkey meat.
Let everything cook together for a while… in the meantime, start chopping up your fresh basil.
I took a cooking class a little while back that taught knife skills. Now, I cannot claim to be any kind of expert on this matter, but one of the most useful things this class taught me was how to properly chop basil without bruising the leaves too much. If you’re curious, check this out!
After the turkey and eggplant has properly browned, add your fresh spinach, and let it cook down. You can put as little or as much spinach as you want – I like plenty of spinach, so I usually add one full container of fresh spinach.
Green, fresh, healthy goodness!
When the spinach has cooked down and looks slightly less overwhelming, add fresh basil, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and paste.
Bring to a boil, and then let this sauce simmer for a good 30-45 minutes, allowing all those lovely, lovely flavors to mingle and mix together.
Once you’ve let all the ingredients cook together for a while, add a bit of salt and pepper and then TASTE! In my humble opinion, Italian food simply cannot be cooked without being tasted along the way.
Ok, maybe this is my rule for all food, but who’s keeping track?!
In a small bowl, add ricotta cheese, crack two fresh eggs on top, and then cover with as much Parmesan as makes you happy. In my case, this is quite a bit. :)
Mix together until the cheesy mixture is combined, and then preheat your oven to 350F.
While you’re waiting for the oven, start layering your lasagna. Spoon about 1/4 of the sauce into the bottom of your casserole dish, and layer with 3 oven-ready lasagna noodles.
Cover noodles with 1/3 of your cheesy ricotta mixture, top with 1/4 more of sauce, and then finish the layer off with a generous sprinkle of mozzarella.
Throw that big bad lasagna into the oven for about 30-40 minutes. In my oven, this tends to be closer to 30-35 minutes, but I can always tell when it’s done, because the cheese is nice and golden brown on top.
Molto bello, no? :)
Let your bubbly, hot lasagna cool for about 10 minutes… even if it’s hard to wait. Then slice, scoop, and serve, alongside some fresh slices of ciabatta.
Then proceed to make lots of “yummy” noises, because you will be very VERY happy with what you’ve whipped up!
Turkey Eggplant Spinach Lasagna
Adapted from Food Network
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 eggplant, diced
- 1 package fresh spinach
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 bunch of basil leaves, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 28-oz can of roasted tomatoes
- 2 15-oz cans of tomato sauce
- 1 6-oz can of tomato paste
- 1 container of ricotta cheese
- 2 large eggs
- 9 oven-ready lasagna noodles
- 1 16-oz package of shredded mozzarella
- Parmesan cheese (as much as you like!)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
In a large saucepan, combine turkey meat, onion and garlic. Cook over medium heat until brown, then add diced eggplant, continuing to cook until eggplant is a golden brown. Add spinach and cook down for a few more minutes.
Add fresh basil, roasted tomatoes, sauce, and paste. Bring sauce to a boil and then simmer for 30-45 minutes. While the sauce is simmering, preheat your oven to 350F.
In a small bowl, combine ricotta, eggs, and parmesan, then mix to combine.
Spoon 1/4 of sauce into the bottom of a 9×13 casserole dish, then top with 3 oven-ready lasagna noodles. Spread 1/3 of ricotta cheese mixture on top, then layer with another 1/4 of sauce, and 1/3 of the shredded mozzarella. Repeat x 2, ending with a layer of sauce, topped off with shredded mozzarella and fresh parmesan cheese.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, until cheese is golden brown on top. Let cool for 10 minutes, then serve with a nob of fresh bread.