I love left over turkey.  Sandwiches, pies, on its own, with left over cranberry sauce or caramelized onion compote – delicious!  I started to make pies for my kids as it is their favorite comfort food.  But I wanted to provide some variety as well.  Walking through the grocery store, I spied it, some “oven ready” lasagna noodles, you know – the kind that don’t need to be boiled.  I know, I typically make the pasta from scratch – I developed a love of fresh pasta after learning how to make it in Chef school.  It doesn’t take long but the nature of my job doesn’t always leave me time to make this for the family for dinner during the week – as a Chef, I’m busy at dinner time, go figure, so not always around to make fresh pasta and serve it properly.

I already made soup from the bones, but that’s another posting.  I used the same recipe as when making the pies so there was familiarity in the taste, just varied it up by making a rose sauce from San Marzano tomatoes and some cream. Melty cheese, fresh basil, the crisp taste of the lasagna noodles bathed in the tomato cream sauce, the familiar taste of the turkey and vegetable medley.  All combined to make – as my son said “dad, this is sick” – apparently that’s a good thing!

The turkey meat was frozen from Thanksgiving so was about time I did something with it.  It’s my mum’s recipe really.  Growing up, this was my favorite use of leftover turkey and let me tell you, anyone who ate my mum’s turkey or chicken or meat pies, ate a slice of heaven.  She always made lots and it always got over, my dad used to do designs on the tops of the pastry, a wonderful combination – lovely to look at, delightful to eat.  I continued this pie making tradition with my family, same results.  I don’t embellish on this recipe, it really is perfect!  Do try this recipe, if noodles aren’t your thing, then put it in a pie shell or open faced with biscuits as mum would often do for a quick change up – not that it needed it.  So here you go – as always, enjoy!

For the filling:
3+ cups of cooked left over turkey meat
1 cup frozen peas
2 medium carrot, diced – about 1 cup
2 stalks celery, diced – about 1 cup
2 large onions, diced – about 2 cups
1 can, cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup chicken stock or water
1 tsp. dried chili flakes (this is my idea, but just for sprinkling on top of the cheese, you could also add some to the tomatoes:))
Salt/pepper to taste

For the Lasagna:
1 pkg. oven ready lasagna noodles
1 x 250g container ricotta cheese
1 x 340g pkg. (about 3 cups) shredded cheese – tre-fromaggi blend or mozzarella or cheddar or any combination of your favorite melty gooey cheeses
1 x 540ml can San Marzano whole tomatoes (you can use a larger tin if you want to make extra sauce for another night of pasta)
125 to 250ml of 35% cream

In a heavy bottomed pot over medium heat, add some olive oil – when hot, add the onion and sauté
soften the onions, add the carrots and celery – sauté to soften
add the soup and stock – stir to combine, let thicken
add the peas, stir – add the cooked turkey and stir to ensure all if it is coated with the mixture – note, you may need to add more stock, water or more cream of mushroom soup – taste, season with salt and pepper, taste again – this mixture should not be pasty but silky smooth, add chicken stock if you need to thin it a bit (milk/cream or water will also do the same job)
In a non stick pot, break up the tomatoes while heating them through, add the cream – taste, season and taste again – season with – salt, pepper, sugar, fresh/dried – rosemary, thyme, basil (or your favorite herbs with tomato sauce). San Marzano tomatoes don’t typically require anything else, however, I like the sweetness provided by the sugar – as my Italian friends would say, it’s okay, he’s not Italian!
In a 9×13 dish, spoon enough of the cooled tomato sauce to lightly cover the bottom of the dish
Add a layer of the dry lasagna noodles, cover with sauce, 1/3 of the cheese, 15 evenly spaced teaspoon sized dollops of the ricotta – cover with the noodles and repeat – sauce, cheeses, noodles, sauce*, cheeses – sprinkle the chili flakes on this last layer of cheese
*Note: if you have additional sauce leftover and your lasagna dish can accommodate the extra sauce, pour all of the sauce over at this stage and then finish off with the cheeses
Place the lasagna tray on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment – this makes clean up easier as some sauce or something is bound to spill over
Bake uncovered in a 350F oven for 30 – 35 minutes (follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the package of pasta)
Let sit for 10 minutes to allow everything to settle before slicing – serve with garlic bread and/or salad
As always – enjoy!

Turkey Lasagna 5

Turkey Lasagna 4