Turkey and Artichoke Lasagna

Since becoming a stay-at-home-mom, I cook a lot more now than I used to. I’ve never considered myself a good cook, (my husband is way better than I am) but I can follow a recipe and am getting more and more confident in my ability to alter recipes to suit our tastes and shave a bit off the preparation time.

This recipe is one that I recently made for my family and it was quite a big hit. A while back, I made Giada deLaurentiis’ Turkey & Artichoke Stuffed Shells and I really loved them, but they take quite a bit of time to make. The other night I tried to alter the recipe into a lasagna and I was really happy with the results.

I’m sure many are thinking, “how is turning it into lasagna saving any time?” For starters, I use Barilla’s no-boil lasagna noodles and I use a jarred pasta sauce. Those two steps shorten the preparation time quite a bit — enough that I will definitely be making this dish again.

Ingredients:

  • 8×8 baking dish
  • 1 box Barilla no-boil lasagna noodles (using these saves a lot of time)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus 1/2 teaspoon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus 1/4 teaspoon
  • 1 (8 to 10 ounce) package of frozen artichokes, thawed and coarsely chopped. If you can’t find frozen (I can’t find them in Utah), canned artichokes will work. Just make sure you do not get the marinated ones. Brined artichokes work great.
  • 1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves (I highly recommend you use fresh, it adds a flavor that dried basil just can’t)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 5 cups of jarred Arrabbiata Sauce or your favorite tangy and/or spicy jarred pasta sauce (my favorite is Newman’s Own Sockarooni Sauce since it’s tangy and a little sweet with lots of peppers. Not your typical marinara sauce.)
  • 3 ounces thinly sliced pancetta
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese (about 5 ounces)

 

Directions:

  • Preheat your oven to 400° F.
  • In a large heavy pot (I love to use my enameled Dutch oven for this), heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until the onions are soft and starting to turn brown, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add the ground turkey, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is cooked through.


  • If you’re using canned artichokes, empty the artichokes into a colander and rinse them thoroughly. If you’re using frozen, then you don’t need to rinse them. Chop and add the artichoke hearts to the turkey mixture and stir to combine. Set aside to cool a bit.
  • Chop your pancetta into thin strips (if it’s not already cut that way). In another skillet over medium-high heat, add your sliced pancetta and cook until it’s just crispy.

  • In a large bowl combine the turkey and artichoke mixture with the ricotta cheese, parmesan, basil, parsley and remaining salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Taste the mixture and add more salt and pepper if needed. I needed to add a little more salt to mine.

  • In an 8×8 baking dish, spoon in some of your pasta sauce to coat the bottom of the dish. Add one layer of your pasta noodles.

Add another layer of your pasta sauce, then a layer of the turkey mixture, then another layer of noodles, pasta sauce, turkey mixture. Repeat until you have four layers of pasta and finish with a layer of the pasta sauce.

  • Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the top and then the crispy pancetta.

  • Cover VERY loosely with aluminum foil. I almost make a tent out of the foil so that none of the cheese sticks. Bake for 40 minutes. Then carefully remove the foil and bake, uncovered, for another five minutes. That last five minutes of cooking is optional, I like the added crispiness it adds to the cheese on top.

    If you’re worried about the foil sticking to the cheese, then I’d suggest trying the non-stick aluminum foil. So long as I add the foil loosely, I haven’t ever had the cheese stick (knock on wood!).

Using ground turkey instead of ground beef already cuts a good amount of calories and fat from this dish, but if you’d like to cut some more, you can use low-fat ricotta cheese and even substitute some of the ricotta with plain Greek yogurt. I have yet to try this using only Greek yogurt, but if anyone wants to try it, let me know if it works!

It was a hit, we got two thumbs up!

This is one of those great dishes you can make ahead of time, cover with foil and stick in your freezer for up to a month.

By Alex T.

Alex is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area currently living in Utah with her hubby where she's a work-at-home-mom to her rambunctious son TJ (born Oct 09) and baby #2 is due in the spring of 2014. She loves to travel, loves art and art history, soccer, photography, and is a little bit of a foodie. When she's not chasing after her son or working for Mama Say What?!, she's running her graphic design and illustration gig. Check out her website (alextebow.com) and her Etsy shop (alextebowdesigns.etsy.com) to see the most recent projects she's done.

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