Turkey and Blue Cheese Lasagne

This dish delivers mild, yet unexpected flavours.  The sauce is inspired by the one for the Steak Gorgonzola Pizza (which is awesome!) from the LCBO’s Food and Drink Magazine (Winter 2008, recipe by Marilyn Bentz-Crowley).  Although it looks like a lot of ingredients and preparation, the process is pretty quick – it’s mostly assembly!!  Serves 6.

  • 8 large red bell peppers
  • Cooking spray
  • 3 Tbsp (45 ml) unsalted butter
  • 1 lb (454 g) cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) grapeseed oil
  • 1 lb (454 g) ground turkey
  • More salt & pepper to taste
  • 6 Tbsp (90 ml) unsalted butter
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 Tbsp (90 ml) all purpose flour
  • 3 cups (750ml) cold milk
  • ½ cup (125 ml) crumbled Danish blue cheese, about 3 oz (90 g)
  • Yes, more salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 lb (450 g) Ricotta cheese
  • 4/5 lb (375 g) frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and water squeezed out
  • Salt and white pepper to taste
  • Cooking spray or oil
  • 8 fresh lasagne sheets
  • 3 cups (750 ml) mozzarella cheese (about 10 ½ oz or 300g)
  • 1 cup (250 ml) parmesan cheese (about 3 ½ oz or 100g)

There are three ways to prepare the red peppers:

1.       Barbeque:  Preheat to medium-high.  Place the peppers directly on the grill and char them, turning every 5-10 minutes, until uniformly black and blistered (about 30 minutes).  Transfer the peppers to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 10 minutes.  Peel the black skin from the peppers and remove seeds and any membranes from inside.

2.       Oven:  Preheat to 450F.  Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds and membranes in advance.  Spray with cooking spray.  Roast for 20-30 minutes, or until soft inside and blackened on the outside.  Follow the rest of the instructions as for barbequing.

3.       Easiest way ever:  omit the peppers and cooking spray from the ingredient list and instead, troll your favourite grocery store (pickle or canned vegetable aisle) or Costco!  You’ll find them in jars.  They’ll be brined, so you’ll want to rinse them.  Dry with kitchen paper.

Heat the butter in a large skillet or sautoir over medium-high heat.  Add the mushrooms and seasonings and sauté; Keep those crazy little fungi (they really are fun, aren’t they?) moving until they begin to emit their moisture, or they’ll stick.  Cook until the mushrooms are golden brown.  Remove from the pan and set aside.

Heat the oil in the same pan over medium-high heat.  Add the turkey and season with salt and pepper.  Stir frequently to avoid sticking, until cooked through.  Remove from the pan and allow to cool (refrigerate if not using promptly).

Using the same pan again, melt the second portion of butter over medium heat.  Sweat the garlic for about a minute, then add the flour and stir in to make a paste.  Whisk in the milk, about a cup at a time.  Cook, stirring often, for 5 to 8 minutes or until mixture bubbles and thickens. Remove from the heat. Stir in the blue cheese, salt and pepper. If your sauce seems very thick, stir in splashes of additional milk until consistency is that of a pasta sauce. (Sauce can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days.)  Set aside about 1/2 cup of sauce and add the cooked turkey and sautéed mushrooms to the remainder (again, be sure to refrigerate if not using promptly).

In a medium bowl, mix together the Ricotta, spinach, salt and white pepper.  Set aside or refrigerate.

Coarsely grate the mozzarella and parmesan and mix together in a medium bowl.

When you’re ready to put it all together and get cooking, preheat the oven to 350F.

Spray or oil an 8 1/2 x 11 1/2 pan.  Use half of the reserved plain blue cheese sauce to coat the bottom of the pan (which prevents the lasagne noodles from sticking).  You’ll need two sheets of pasta to cover the bottom (it’s okay if they overlap a little).  Use half of the turkey and mushroom sauce to cover the noodle layer and then add a layer of red pepper.  Use two more pasta sheets, then add the entire ricotta and spinach mixture and spread evenly.  Layer two more pasta sheets on top.  Repeat a layer of red pepper, then turkey and mushroom sauce and two more pasta sheets.  Top with the rest of the straight blue cheese sauce and spread evenly over the noodles.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes

Remove the lasagne from the oven and uncover.  Add the mozzarella and parmesan in an even layer on top and return to the oven for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and beginning to turn golden.  Let the lasagne rest and set for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

Notes:

Pasta sheets are readily available at your grocery store, where you find other fresh pasta.  If you’re looking for a “healthier choice”, Olivieri makes a good whole wheat product called “Nutriwise” (PC Blue Menu makes a similar product, but the results were disappointing).  By all means, use your favourite dry noodles, if you prefer, following package directions.

If you’re a serial cook, by all means use the same pan for the first three steps.  If you’re a simultaneous cook, go ahead and use three pans (if you’ve got them).  I just hate doing dishes… and wasting the flavour that’s left behind in the pan.

I have a new lasagne pan that I need to rave about:  the stick-resistant stainless steel roasting pan by Paderno (PEI isn’t just about potatoes, anymore!).  It has no chemical coating, but features a textured bottom that really and truly does resist sticking!!  The pans come in a variety of sizes.  A store like Hendrix Restaurant Equipment and Supplies (Ontario, Alberta and BC) is a good bet, and likely less expensive than other retailers.  You can also shop online with Paderno!!

Equally good, I think, might be “Beef and Blue Cheese Lasagne” or “Lamb and Blue Cheese Lasagne”….  Let your imagination take you where it will!

Enjoy!!

~ One of Seven

Comments

  1. This is my new favourite lasagna.

    We paired this with Gabbiano Chianti which worked nicely.

  2. I’ve made this a few times, but never with the Bleu cheese…I have to say – nice twist! I love lasagna….

  3. I have just come across this site and have found it to be interesting and informative.

    I have to say that this dish sounds heavenly and I really can’t wait to give it a try, would be be possible to change the turkey to chicken rather?? It would get the same effect, I think anyway.

  4. One of Seven says:

    Absolutely! Whether ground or shredded, chicken would be a fine substitute! Let us know how it turns out…!!

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