Saturday, January 30, 2010

Turkey Sausage and Spinach Lasagne

Turkey Sausage and Spinach Lasagne

I have to blame Quida for this. She keeps asking me to make my lasagna…and in all fairness, I’ve only made it once. Right when Celeste was first pregnant…and I thought it would be fun to cook for her. So I made up this lasagna…which is completely wasted on my husband who doesn’t like most things pasta. I went for flavor. So I flavored each layer. I must say, I was impressed. My first lasagna I used a combination of ground sirloin and ground veal. I thought the result was pretty fantastic, especially for a first. The next day I took in a slice each for Celeste and Quida…only to discover that Celeste was now in the queasy stages of her pregnancy. So Quida had hers for lunch and raved about it. The next day Celeste was still very sick so Quida’s attitude was, “Oh well. More for me!” Apparently she loved it so much that she has been raving about it to her friends. Her Martha Stewart friend, April, is almost at the point of “Enough already. Either show me the lasagna or shut up.” I told Quida that I wanted to try a turkey and spinach lasagna and her response was, “bring it on.” So here it is. One Sunday and six hours later…

The Ingredients:

Tomato Sauce:
1 Large Can peeled Italian Tomatoes (I recommend the imported kind from Italy)
2 Cloves Garlic, minced (or crushed)
2 Tbsps Olive Oil
¼ cup Torn Basil Leaves
Salt and Pepper to taste
Good Quality Vinegar, such as Sherry Vinegar, Zinfandel, etc.
Honey if needed (A good quality imported Italian tomatoes picked at perfect ripeness, may not need any sweet added at all.)

1 Package Turkey Sausage Links

1 Package Baby Spinach
2 more Cloves Garlic, Sliced
Lemon Zest and 1 Tsp Lemon Juice
Fresh Ground Nutmeg
Salt and Pepper to Taste

¼ Cup Minced Parsley
¼ Cup Minched Oregano
1 Package Ricotta Cheese
More Fresh Ground Nutmeg
Salt and Pepper to Taste

1 Layer Fresh Basil Leaves

1 Package Fresh Lasagne Noodles

1 Package Smoked, Sliced Fontina Cheese

¼ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

The Sauce:

Open a large can of Peeled Italian Tomatoes and pour into a large bowl, with the juice. With your hand, crush each tomato. Heat a large pan and add 1 tbsp Olive Oil. Crush 2 Garlic Cloves into the oil and let bloom a couple of seconds. Add the tomatoes, all at once and bring to a simmer. Tear half of the basil into the sauce. Add a dash of Crushed Red Chili Flakes. Stir occasionally until reduced and the sauce is not watery. Tear the remaining Basil into the Sauce. Taste. If it needs salt, add some now. Sometimes the tomatoes have salt already in the can, so be sure to taste the sauce before adding additional salt.

Smoked Fontina Meat Lasagna

Smoked Fontina Meat Lasagna

½ Pound Ground Sirloin
½ Pound Ground Veal
1 Box Strained Italian Tomatoes
1 Bunch Italian Parsley
1 Bunch Fresh Oregano
2 Bunches of Fresh Basil
3 Garlic Cloves
8 oz Shredded Mozzarella
6 Slices Smoked Fontina Cheese
2 TBSP Grated Parmesan Reggiano
15 oz Fresh Ricotta Cheese
2 Sheets fresh Lasagna
Port Vinegar
Salt, Pepper, Dried Sage, Ground Cumin, Red Pepper Flakes, Cayenne, Dried Garlic Powder, olive oil

Brown the meat and season with salt, pepper, dried sage, ground cumin, cayenne and garlic powder.

In a separate skillet, heat about 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add a ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes and 3 cloves minced or pressed garlic. Stir for a couple of seconds, then add tomatoes. Reduce heat to simmer. Add salt and some torn basil leaves. Heat until reduced to a thick sauce. Remove from heat and add about 1 teaspoon honey and about ½ teaspoon vinegar. Taste for salt, add more as necessary.

Remove the parsley from its stems and mince, place in bowl. Remove oregano from its stems and mince, place in bowl. For ½ remaining basil, mince and place in bowl. And ricotta cheese and mix together with salt and pepper to taste.

Assemble Lasagna:

In a 9 inch casserole dish, spray with non-stick spray. Add a small layer of tomato sauce. Add one layer lasagna noodles. Add one half of ricotta mixture. Add one half of meat. Add one half remaining tomato sauce. Layer remaining basil leaves. Sprinkle with ½ mozzarella. Place one more layer noodles. Add remaining ricotta mixture. Add remaining meat. Add remaining sauce. Sprinkle top with remaining mozzarella. Place smoked fontina on top in a layer. Press down. Sprinkle top with about 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese. Bake in pre-heated oven uncovered for about 40 minutes until dish is bubbly and the top is brown. Remove from oven and let rest about 30 minutes. Cut in four even squares and serve.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Juliane's German Risotto

Juliane ("Jules") made this risotto for her dad tonight. The consensus from both of them was, "It's good!" I asked Jules if I could post her recipe. From what I understand, this may have been translated a couple of times. I can't wait to try this myself. When I do make it, I will come back and give my comments.

5 1/2 c vegetable broth
1 small onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic chopped finely
4 tbsp olive oil
1 lb arborio rice
1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp of red pepper flakes
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
fresh basil cut into thin strips
1 cup shredded mozzarella

Heat the vegetable broth and set aside. In a large skillet, saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil until tender. Add the arborio rice and stir for about 2-3 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and let simmer on med to med high heat uncovered for about 10 to 15 minutes while occasionally stirring until fluid is mostly absorbed. Add the red pepper flakes,chopped tomatoes and brown sugar while stirring constantly. When the rice is tender and the fluid has been absorbed almost completely, mix in the parmesan cheese. Add sea salt and cracked pepper to taste. Just before serving add the strips of fresh basil. Spoon onto plates and top with the mozarella cheese and enjoy.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday Bread Board

Sleep in late on Sunday. Make some tea, check your blogs. And make a bread board to snack on for the late morning.

I like to use a couple of cheeses. This one has a creamy Napa Valley blue cheese and an aged Canadian cheddar. I had a small seeded baguette from a couple of days ago that got hard, so I wrapped in in foil (in its paper bag) and put it in the oven at 220 degrees for about 10 minutes to soften it. Added some dates (very high in potassium) and the bread board is done.

Try cutting a pitted date in half and stuffing it with blue cheese. Drizzle a good honey on top. This is fantastic. I used a truffle honey, but I would also suggest any honey, even a lavender scented one.

Happy Sunday! And Happy New Year! Good to be back.