Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Legit lasagna

legit lasagna
The Mister and I hold a deep-seated love for Italian fare, particularly pasta. It is an ultimate comfort food that we partake of at least weekly, despite the apparent carbohydrate overload. Our palettes prefer it too much to give it up, so we have whole wheat pasta with fresh veggies and lean protein in the mix, and plenty of fresh herbs to evoke the flavors of the dish. When it comes to baked pasta, lasagna is a winner. I've been playing with different versions of lasagne al forno, and this rendition is topnotch because it's zesty, flavorful, and marvelously fresh - akin to lasagna at a legit Italian ristorante. To minimize the fattiness, I substituted fat free ground turkey breast and Italian chicken sausage for beef in the meat sauce.  I also used fat-free or light cheeses, freshly sauteed zucchini, and whole grain lasagna noodles, so this healthier version lightens our consciences considerably. The Mister is bold enough to insist that it is the best lasagna he's ever had, and he is a self-proclaimed man's man who loves his red meat like no other!
legit and messy lasagna
Legit Lasagna (adapted from here)
1 lb sweet Italian chicken sausage
3/4 lb fat free ground turkey breast
1/2 cup onion, minced
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 tbsp garlic, minced
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
 2 (6 oz) cans tomato paste
13 oz tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
4 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
9 no-boil lasagna noodles
2 round zucchini, sliced into 1/4" slices
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp garlic, minced
15 oz fat-free ricotta cheese
1 egg
1 lb light shredded mozzarella cheese
Fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
Fresh Romano cheese, grated
Fresh Asiago cheese, grated

1. Brown onion in extra virgin olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
2. "De-skin" the Italian chicken sausage. Add sausage and ground turkey breast to onions. Cook sausage, turkey, and onions until well-browned. Break the meat into small pieces as you're cooking to create sausage-like bits.
3. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and 2 tbsp parsley. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Simmer, covered, for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. In a saute pan over medium heat, brown 1 tbsp minced garlic in 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Add zucchini slices and saute until zucchini releases their juices and turns slightly brown (similar to grill marks) on both sides, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
5. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg and 2 tbsp parsley. Mix thoroughly.
6. To assemble lasagna, layer the following in a large casserole dish or 13x9 pan: meat sauce, Parmesan cheese, 3 noodles, ricotta cheese mixture, sauteed zucchini slices, mozzarella cheese. Repeat. Make sure to end with meat sauce and a generous amount of mozzarella, Parmesan, Romano, and Asiago cheeses.
7. Cover with foil. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake for another 25 minutes. Cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Bon appetit!


  1. Wow, this looks delicious, and I don't even like lasagna. Guess it's time to give it a chance with this recipe.

  2. It really is the best HEALTHY lasagna I have ever eaten!

  3. lasagna is seriously my FAVE italian dish!! sooo good!!


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