Liz’s boys are adventurous eaters —willing to try new foods and give “I hate it” dishes a second or third chance. But it took umpteen failed attempts before Liz realized the ricotta cheese in her veggie lasagna was grossing the boys out! To replace it, she creates a white sauce (known as a béchamel sauce) with low-fat milk, flour, and olive oil instead of butter. Josh and Simon now eat every bite.
I liked the fact that the béchamel sauce was low in fat and still brought a rich taste to the dish. For more of a kick, I might add some crushed red pepper flakes to the meat mixture.
Valerie, mother of George, age 4. Waipahu, HI
OccasionCasual Dinner Party
Recipe CourseMain Course
Dietary ConsiderationPeanut Free, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free
Taste and TextureCheesy, Creamy, Meaty, Savory
Type of DishBaked Pasta, Pasta
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- ½ small onion, cut into ¼-inch dice (½ cup)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 ounces mushrooms, coarsely chopped
- 1 small zucchini (about 6 ounces), unpeeled and shredded (1 cup)
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and shredded (½ cup)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound lean ground turkey
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 1 26-ounce jar pasta sauce
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2½ cups 1% low-fat milk
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 9-ounce box dried no-boil lasagna noodles (16 sheets)
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large Dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook an additional 1 minute.
Raise the heat to medium-high, stir in the mushrooms, zucchini, carrot, and salt and pepper to taste and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are softened, about 8 minutes. Add the turkey and thyme and cook until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Stir in the pasta sauce, heat through, and set aside.
Heat the remaining oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth, about 2 minutes. Whisk the milk and nutmeg slowly into the flour mixture. Raise the heat and bring to a low boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat, simmer, and stir until the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes.
To assemble, lightly oil or coat a 9 x 13-inch baking pan or dish with nonstick cooking spray. Spread 1 cup meat mixture on the bottom. Lay 5 noodles on top, allowing them to overlap. Break the fifth noodle into a few pieces and fill in empty spaces. Top with ¾ cup béchamel sauce, ¼ cup Parmesan, 2 cups meat mixture, and ¼ cup mozzarella. Repeat with a second layer of 6 noodles (overlapping and two broken), ¾ cup sauce, ¼ cup Parmesan, the remaining meat, and ¼ cup mozzarella.
Top with the remaining noodles, béchamel sauce, and cheese. Cover loosely with foil and bake until bubbly, about 50 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until the cheese melts, 5 minutes.
2011 Liz Weiss and Janice Newell Bissex