Do you know that moment in winter when it hits you that it’s going to be cold and miserable and disgusting outside for at least another three months? That there is seriously no end in sight, and you’re just going to have to slug though the slushy sidewalks and wear your winter coat and gloves and hat for three months before the weather even starts to turn bearable?
Well, I do. I had it this weekend. (sigh.)
And there are two things to do, once that realization hits you. The first one is to plan a vacation somewhere warm and sunny and relaxing. And the second is to whip up some hearty winter comfort food.
Because, well, there’s a reason it’s called ‘comfort’ food. Because on nights when it’s so cold that you can’t even bear to pick up your dry cleaning, at least you can come home to something delicious.
I used turkey instead of beef to make this a little healthier, and I used part skim ricotta and mozzarella. Because, hey, don’t you remember step one? If you want to look great on that beach vacation, you might as well err on the healthy side. Right?
1 1/2 pounds extra lean ground turkey
2 minced shallots
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoons dried basil
2 bay leaves
2 tsp salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 pre-cooked lasagna noodles (or use the kind in the grocery store you don’t need to boil first)
16 ounces part skim ricotta cheese
2 1/2 cups part skim mozzarella cheese, grated
2 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Saute the ground turkey in olive oil until cooked through. Stir in tomato sauce, tomato paste, garlic, shallots, and water. Add the basil, bay leaves, salt, pepper. Cover and simmer, for about half an hour, stirring occasionally. Remove the bay leaves.
Spread 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Arrange a layer of pasta over the sauce. Add half the remaining meat sauce in a layer over the pasta. Dot the sauce with dollops of ricotta, spreading to even them out. Sprinkle 1 cup of parmesan cheese and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese over the ricotta. Repeat layers, and top the pasta with any remaining sauce and the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.