Turkey & Fennel Lasagna Bolognese
My neighbors had a beautiful baby girl this week! Yay! I made them a lasagna and some garlic bread so they wouldn’t have to cook dinner when they came home from the hospital. When I was growing up, my Mom always brought dinner to neighbors who had babies, so, I’m carrying on the tradition.
I usually cook Italian sausage into my lasagna sauce, but it’s spicy and I didn’t want the baby to get indigestion from what her Mom was eating. So instead, I braised ground turkey with fresh baby fennel from my garden. It came out delicious and just fennel-y enough to taste like sausage.
In a heavy bottomed pot, add 1 tblsp olive oil, and brown 1 lb ground turkey with 2 or 3 chopped baby fennel bulbs, (cores and fronds removed), 1 medium chopped onion, about 10 brown mushrooms, and 2 chopped carrots. Season with salt and pepper, a sprinkle of cinnamon, a bay leaf, dash of paprika, pinch of dried basil, and some celery salt.
Once the meat is browned add 2 cans whole peeled tomatoes, chopped or blended, 2 tblsp tomato paste, 1 cup wine or stock, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 45 minutes or so while you prep all the other ingredients.
Mix 1 large container ricotta cheese, 1 egg, fresh chopped parsley and fresh chopped basil, salt and pepper and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese in a bowl. Place in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble the lasagna.
Preheat oven to 375.
Grate mozzerella, cheddar and parmesan cheeses.
Cook lasagna noodles to al dente and rinse with cold water.
To assemble the lasagna, butter 1 large lasagna pan. Add 1 cup or so of the sauce to the bottom of the pan. Place noodles over the sauce. Drop ricotta cheese mixture by spoonfuls over the noodles and spread it into one layer. Top with some of the grated cheeses. Continue layering with the noodles, sauce, and remaining cheese mixture.
Bake lasagna at 375 (covered loosely with parchment paper or foil), until hot, bubbly and amazing, about 1 hour. Uncover for the last few minutes of baking to caramelize the cheese. Yum!