Lasagna is one of my FAVE meals to eat at home or order when I’m out….but mostly when I’m home…I’ve tried a few different recipes but found Ina Garten‘s (aka Barefoot Contessa) recipe to be the one I like most.

Now, whenever I cook a meal (especially when I try new stuff) – I research 3-4 recipes to see what ingredients are used, how its made – and then I pick and choose what I think would work best.  So while I love this recipe – I have a few variations to make it my own…I’ll include what those are…

Oh…also – I don’t really measure anything – unless I’m unsure…its always best to start off measuring spices, liquids, etc…until you are comfortable in seasoning to taste…here goes…

**Disclaimer:  I am not a chef…I just play one at home… 

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Use a pot or skillet to heat the olive oil and sauté the onions, garlic and to brown your meat…(I prefer to use my dutch oven pot…mainly because I just love it and because it holds liquid better than the skillet would.  But any pot would do.)

* Variation*  I also include 2-3 hot italian sausage links in the meat to brown as well…the hot italian sausage adds a little kick to the meal…I use pork – but that may not work for you and kinda defeats the whole idea of a “turkey” lasagna…but whatever.

3.  I like to make my own tomato sauce as per Ina’s direction which is super easy…just tomato paste, tomatoes and spices….BUT if you are out of all those things – feel free to throw in store-bought pasta sauce (like a Classico)….I prefer NOT to do this – but on occasion that is my plan B.

4.  Let this all simmer for about 15 minutes…during that time you’ll prep for the cheese mix…which includes an egg, ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, and spices…mix it all up.

*Variation*  Ina includes goat cheese which I’ve used before…but the last time I made this – I didn’t have any so I used Philadelphia cream cheese..I have to credit Chef Ingraham on that tip…the cream cheese really is used in place of ricotta…but who’s counting calories (not this blog)…or I’ll sometimes use feta cheese…which is one of my faves..point is – use whatever cheese you like.

The ricotta cheese mix

5.  Once the sauce is done – take your baking dish and spread the sauce on the bottom of the dish…add your pasta, then cheese mix, spread some mozzarella (shredded or fresh), then sauce and start the cycle all over again until your layers are done…top it off with more parm and mozzarella.

Working on my layers

6.  Throw it in the oven (uncovered) for about 30 minutes until all bubbly and brown and yummy…a side salad and texas toast takes this over the edge…

Before: Fresh out the oven

NOTE:  I didn’t think I needed to state that you should cook your pasta at some point before you start layering…or you can just use the oven ready lasagna noodles…that always works for me.  For a healthy version – use wheat pasta.  But then you would have to cut out all of that cheese – and so, what’s the point??

After: When people attack

For a better step-by-step direction on making this pan of goodness, check out Ina Garten’s recipe…

Happy Cooking!

— Lisa

Ina Garten’s Turkey Lasagna