I know I just set your expectations really high with the title of this recipe. However, let me assure you this really is an amazing version of lasagna (and it really has been called “the best”). I love the number of vegetables in it. I love the flavor that the sausage brings, but that it stays (relatively) light with the ground turkey. I love how far it goes, easily serving 8 (and you may still have some leftovers). And, most of all, I simply love the flavor. The addition of pesto really adds something to the more traditional lasagna recipe and the combination of veggies and spices create a scrumptious end result–delicious, melt in your mouth, hot out of the oven lasagna.
A couple notes: first, take seriously the direction to let the lasagna rest for 10-15 minutes before serving. While it is without a doubt tempting to dive straight in, waiting those final minutes allows the lasagna to rest and absorb any additional liquids. Your pieces will come out clean and still piping hot, promise. Second, feel free to go low fat on the cottage and ricotta cheeses. Save a few calories and you won’t notice the difference.
Finally, lasagna makes amazing leftovers. The flavor just gets better a day or two later. It is the perfect lunch or a quick and easy dinner: just add a salad and your favorite crusty bread.
The Best Lasagna
Adapted from Southern Living, September 2010
1 box uncooked, oven ready lasagna noodles
1 16 oz container of cottage cheese
1 16 oz container of ricotta cheese
2 large eggs
1/2 c basil pesto
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
2 c shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 lb ground turkey
1/2 lb ground Italian sausage (hot or sweet)
1/2 c. onion, diced
1 large green bell pepper, diced
1 t dried basil
1 t dried oregano
1 c. chopped frozen spinach
1 24 oz bottle of your favorite marinara sauce
Splash of red wine
Shredded Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 375°. Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish,
Cook turkey and sausage in large skillet over medium high heat. While meat is cooking, combine the ricotta and cottage cheeses, eggs, pesto, salt, and pepper in a medium size bowl.
When meat is beginning to crumble, add onion and bell pepper to pan and cook until meat is no longer pink and vegetables are tender. Drain off the excess fat from the pan and then add the basil and oregano. Sauté until fragrant. Add spinach and tomato sauce. Clean out the bottle of sauce with a splash of red wine, then add wine to pan. Stir until well combined.
In the 9×13 pan, layer approximately 1/4 of the meat mixture, 3 noodles side by side plus a half of 1 noodle at the end of the pan, 1/4 of the cheese mixture, and then a handful of mozzarella cheese. Repeat three times, alternating which end of the pan has the half piece of the lasagna noodle. Finish with the remainder of the mozzarella cheese and a handful of Parmesan cheese.
Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 20 minutes. If you like your lasagna a bit more browned on top, finish it off by broiling for 1 minute on high. Let stand for 10-15 minutes before serving.