Monday, February 22, 2010

Lasagna with Venison Bolognese


This is the very first time I ever made a lasagna with meat! I made this for the hubby one night while he was studying for his comprehensive exams for his PhD. He PASSED! Now all he has to do is write a biggie.

Anyway, this recipe is adapted from Gourmet. Theirs calls from pancetta and they used beef chuck--I used venison instead for a lighter and leaner version. I also cut the eggs in half (they used 4!!!) in the ricotta filling.


For bolognese sauce:
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1-2 pounds ground venison
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves

For Ricotta filling:
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach,thawed
2 (15-ounce) containers whole-milk ricotta
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
3/4 cup whole milk, divided

For assembling lasagne:
12 lasagna noodles (from 1 box)
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano



  • Make Sauce: heat oil in a 12-to 14-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Cook onion, carrot, celery, and garlic, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are golden and softened, 12 to 15 minutes.
  • Add venison and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up any lumps, until meat is no longer pink, 6 to 10 minutes.
  • Stir in wine, milk, tomato paste, thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until most of liquid has evaporated but sauce is still moist, about 1 hour.
  • Make ricotta filling: put spinach in a kitchen towel (not terry cloth) and twist to squeeze out as much moisture as possible.
  • Whisk together ricotta, eggs, parmesan, nutmeg, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Transfer 1 1/2 cups ricotta mixture to another bowl and whisk in 1/4 cup milk; set aside.
  • Whisk spinach into remaining filling with remaining 1/2 cup milk.
  • Assemble and bake lasagna: preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle.
  • Soak no-boil noodles in a bowl of very warm water until pliable but not softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Place on a kitchen towel (it's not necessary to pat noodles dry) or if using regular noodles, boil until not quite al dente
  • Spread 1 1/2 cups bolognese sauce in baking pan and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parmesan. Cover with 3 noodles, leaving space in between.
  • Spread half of spinach filling on top, then 1 cup bolognese sauce, and top with 1 tablespoon parmesan and 3 noodles; repeat.
  • Top with remaining bolognese sauce, 1 tablespoon parmesan, and remaining 3 noodles. Pour reserved ricotta mixture over top and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup parmesan.
  • Cover pan tightly with foil and bake 50 minutes.
  • Remove foil and bake until top is browned in spots, about 15 minutes more. Let stand 15 to 30 minutes before cutting.
Serves 8-10


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