It's seems as if anything Italian is a hit in our household, so when lasagna night comes, everyone is eager for dinner and, well, left overs.
Since we were blessed with a small deer at the start of winter, we have been finding ways of adding venison to our everyday cooking. It turns out that ground venison is our go-to. I know, not everyone has venison stock piled in their freezer, so feel free to make this recipe with ground beef or no meat at all. I will note that the venison is extremely lean and when used in a sauce there's no worries about the "game-y" taste most people are afraid of.
While venison may not be common in most people's fridge/freezer, I am not one to constantly have ricotta cheese in my fridge. Instead, homemade yogurt or whole milk yogurt is most likely always in my kitchen. So, I experimented with a simple substitution and to my dismay, it turned out great. I hope you enjoy a classic lasagna dinner with a little bit of a twist.
Not-So-Typical Spinach-Venison Lasagna
Tomato Sauce Ingredients:
3 Tbsp Julia’s Good Medicine Basil Garlic Olive Oil
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 lb. ground venison OR beef (optional)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can crushed plum tomatoes
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp Julia’s Good Medicine Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme Herbal Sea Salt
1 Tbsp oregano
1 Tbsp dried basil
½ tsp crushed red pepper
½ tsp coarsely ground black pepper
2 ½ cups whole-milk yogurt
2 bunches organic spinach, coarsely chopped
9 no-cook lasagna noodles
1 lb. part-skim mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced OR shredded
2/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1 To prepare sauce, heat olive oil in a large saucepan. Add onion and garlic; cook until soft and translucent, but not brown.
2 Add venison and cook until browned.
3 Add tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, herbal sea salt, oregano, basil, crushed red pepper and black pepper; stir well. Bring to a boil; simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes. Let cool slightly.
4 Preheat oven to 375F.
5 To prepare lasagna, combine yogurt, spinach and egg in a large bowl; mix well.
6 Coat the bottom of the 13 x 9-inch baking pan with a third of the tomato sauce. Cover sauce with 3 noodles without overlapping (break noodles to fit), half the yogurt mixture and remaining mozzarella. Top with remaining 3 noodles, remaining sauce and parmigiana cheese.
**To make ahead of time, cover with foil and refrigerate 6 to 8 hours or overnight.
7 Place pan on baking sheet. Bake, uncovered, 40 minutes, or until bubbly.
8 Let stand about 15 minutes before cutting into squares.
9 Serves 12, Enjoy!